The .ie ccTLD has changed its registration policies effective yesterday March 21st 2018.
From yesterday registrants will only need to provide a “connection” to Ireland and, depending on whether they’re a business or an individual, proof of identity.
They’ve also added a more streamlined registration process for existing registrants, as they’ll already have been “validated” by the registry. They’re calling this “fast pass”.
IEDR have not provided any statistics on yesterday’s registration volumes and they no longer seem to be publishing live registration data on their site. However it looks like the larger registrars would have handled a couple of hundred registrations each in a single day, which is more than they’d have done in a month a few years ago.
Disclosure: my company is the largest IE registrar in the world and holds the current record for most IE domain registrations in a single month