The Celtic Tiger

21 Nov

One of the biggest things I have come to realize since coming to Dublin has been how significant the Celtic Tiger was for the Republic of Ireland. For many years I was under the impression that Ireland was not particularly a wealthy country. In fact, the majority of the stories I had heard growing up that related to Ireland were either about the potato famine or St. Patrick. It wasn’t until I arrived here that I actually learned about Ireland in the 20th and 21st centuries. I remember during the summer when I was preparing to leave for Dublin, I had done a little of bit research and found out Dublin was actually ranked in the top 30 most developed and expensive cities in the world. At the time, I was a little confused as to how Dublin could be ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world. However, after learning a bit more about the history of Ireland, it makes sense to me now as to why Dublin is ranked so high.

 

For a bit of background, the Celtic Tiger was a period of rapid economic growth from roughly 1990 through 2007 in Ireland. Prior to this period, Ireland was suffering from a sluggish economy, some political instability, and emigration. In addition, it was also one of the poorest countries in Europe. However, from my understanding, beginning the 1990s, Ireland began reducing its tax rates and started attracting tech companies, such as Dell, Intel and Microsoft to house their European headquarters in Dublin because of Ireland’s low wages and its well-educated citizens. From this point on, Ireland began going through a decade’s long boom, in which its economy grow significant, its housing market grew, its relationship with Britain and Northern Ireland warmed up, etc. By the end of the Celtic Tiger, Ireland had essentially transformed itself into one of the richest countries in all of Europe. Of course, as with the rest of the world, the Tiger ended as a result of the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and then the Great Recession.

 

What fascinates me is how often the Celtic Tiger is mentioned in conversations. It really isn’t uncommon for me to overhear a conversation and have someone say, “Back during the Tiger…” I also it’s also really interesting to consider that during the Tiger there was a massive wave of immigration into the country, and it’s really noticeable today, especially in Dublin, as to how diverse the population is.

Carlos Handal

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