Top 1000 Companies Intro

Fiona Reddan

Welcome to the 2021 edition of The Irish Times Top 1000 Companies magazine, the definitive guide to Ireland’s largest businesses.

It’s been a tough, and unexpected, year for many, with the length and depth of the pandemic taking many by surprise. Nonetheless, many companies shrugged off the challenges of Covid-19 to reach new highs in their businesses, while those most impacted, such as the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors, will be hoping extensive vaccination programmes will give their business scope for hope over the coming year.

We take a look at the companies whose businesses have soared – Tesco and Microsoft take a bow – as well as those, largely in the most impacted sectors, such as tourism and hospitality, that have suffered (page 8).

While many of us may have kept ourselves busy with Netflix or other leisurely pursuits, Aercap’s Aengus Kelly enjoyed no such downtime; he tells us how he got through numerous hotel quarantines to bring a €25 billion deal to fruition, in the process creating the world’s largest aviation leasing company. (page 18)

Meanwhile Suzanne Moloney, founder and chief executive of HidraMed Solutions, tells us how she kept her business on the road “virtually” over the past year (page 16).

For the first time in many years, Ireland has a new top bank: Barclays. Joe Brennan talks to its new Irish chief Francesco Ceccato about settling in during a pandemic (page 12).

It may not have been to the fore over the past 18 months, but Brexit is likely to become more of an issue as the pandemic (hopefully) recedes. Eoin Burke Kennedy takes a look at how trade is coping so far, and explains what everyone’s favourite sweets, Percy Pigs, have to do with the Northern Ireland protocol (page 23).

It’s been one of the few treats – or essentials – for many of us during a long lockdown period, but Caroline Madden suggests we now might need to broaden our horizons when it comes to our daily cup of joe. She talks to coffee experts on the latest trends, including nitro coffee and cold brews (page 54).

And finally, it’s likely that many of us will be making our way back to the office for the first time in many months over the coming weeks. To help us on this journey, Ciara O’Brien has some tips on the tech that can get us from our home office to the work office – and back again (page 60), while Joanne Hunt has some tips on motivating teams that are working remotely (page 21).

We always welcome your thoughts so get in touch at if you’d like to share comments or suggestions. And, as always, if you want to keep up to date with how Irish businesses are doing, check out