The Irish Stock Exchange has said that its ISEQ Overall index had its best year in 2013 since 1997. It finished the year with a rise of 33.6% - the index has now gained over 57% in the last three years.

The ISEQ was the best performing index in Western Europe last year, ahead of key indices including the FTSE 100 index and the Germany DAX index in Frankfurt.

These saw growth rates of 14.4% and 25.5% respectively.

The Dublin-based index also beat its Wall Street peers as the S&P index grew by 24.4% and the Nasdaq saw growth of 32.8% in what was generally a good year for global stock markets.

Last year also says the highest ever number of equity trades on the ISE. Coming in at 3.4 million deals, the 2013 total was 40% higher than 2012 levels. 

Equity turnover also increased during the year to bring the total to €57.6 billion, up over 54% on the €37.3 billion in 2013.

Several new firms also joined the ISE last year, including Mincon, GameAccount Network, Hibernia REIT, Green REIT and Falcon Oil and Gas. However, key firms also moved their main listings to London during the year, including DCC, Greencore, Grafton and ICON.

The ISE said its debt business performed well in 2013 with every quarter showing an increase in international listings. The 12 month period saw a total of 4,562 new listings, a jump of 88% on the 2012 figures.

In the last quarter of the year, the ISE secured debt listings from the likes of China's Sinopec Group, Spanish banking group Caixabank, Italy's Aeroporto de Roma, communications specialists Avanti and French frozen foods retailer Picard Group.