Thirty firms went bust every week last year, a business study has revealed.
More than 1,500 companies were declared insolvent during 2010, according to statistics complied by insolvencyjournal.ie.
As expected, the construction sector was hardest hit with 472 companies, 30% of total, unable to pay wages and bills.
Ken Fennell, a partner with kavanaghfennell which compiled the data, said the figures were not as bad as had been feared.
"2010 saw no let-up in the number of businesses becoming insolvent, although the increase on the 2009 figure is not as bad as some had predicted," he said.
"2011 will again be a very difficult year for Irish businesses, and particularly the retail and hospitality sectors will see a large number of failures."
Mr Fennell said he believed the overall number of insolvencies has probably peaked.
Some of the most high profile building and development firms to fail last year included the Fleming Group, Pierse Contracting and McInerney Group.
Services were next hardest hit with 279 insolvencies and the vast majority of these had construction links such as architects and quantity surveyors.
Some 194 businesses in the hospitality sector failed and 177 in the retail trade.