The Celtic tiger is back!

Dublin (AFP) - Ireland’s economy expanded by a stellar 8.2 percent in 2018, according to official gross domestic product figures out Thursday that showed a strong jump in the export of goods and services.

Ireland’s GDP figures are often treated with caution due to the distorting effects of the business flows and accounting practices of multinational firms based in Ireland, especially US companies.

But gross national product (GNP) – which excludes the profits of Irish-based multi-nationals – grew by 6.5 percent, the Central Statistics Office said.

The CSO said the surprising performance was due to an increase of more than 10 percent in the export of goods and services.

Meanwhile personal consumption of goods and services, a key measure of domestic economic activity, grew by 3.4 percent.

The size of the Irish economy was measured at 324 billion euros ($365 billion) last year using GDP.

Using GNI, an measure intended to strip out the retained earnings of international firms headquartered in Dublin, it stood at 197 billion euros.

Preliminary first quarter results for 2019 showed a 2.4 percent increase in GDP compared with the last quarter of 2018, while GNP was up 2.1 percent.

The rise was also driven by exports and domestic consumption, said the CSO.

The prospect of Brexit has left some Irish companies fearing the consequences in case of trade disruption with Britain, with which is shares a land border.

Ireland experienced an economic miracle from 1995 to 2007, with an average annual growth of six percent, before sinking into a deep recession following the 2008 financial crisis.

It returned to growth in 2014.