Earlier today the US Embassy in Dublin posted a notice on their website urging potential J1 students to "be proactive and begin the application process as soon as possible" for the 2018 programme.
According to the Irish Examiner, last year the embassy took over six weeks to process the backlog of applications. Early departures and late notice from programme sponsors meant a "high percentage" of students were delayed and could not travel during last years processing. Students who are planning on applying for the J-1 Summer Work Travel or Camp Counselor program should begin the process as soon as possible.
For summer 2018, Irish students have over 7,000 J1 allocated slots, which is the same amount of allocations as 2017.
A list of J-1 recruiters for Irish students can be found here. The J-1 program in Ireland is more than 50 years old and over 160,000 Irish students have taken part.