The Celtic Tiger That Took Ireland by Storm


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Just to be clear, there are no tigers in Ireland. Ok, maybe at the zoo, but the Celtic Tiger we’re going to talk about today is snagged from the economic growth indicators of East Asian Tigers (major economic players) like Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

In each case, these Asian countries saw a fast, rapid rise in economic growth. And that’s exactly where the term Celtic Tiger comes from. It refers to Ireland’s economic miracle, or boom, lasting from about 1995 until 2007.

The highest rate of economic growth was from 1995 until 2000, when the economy grew at a rate of 9.4%. From 2000 to 2007, the expansion continued at an average rate of 5.9%.

The miracle, however, is that during the Celtic Tiger boom Ireland went from being one of Europe’s poorer countries to being one of the richest. The ability for the country to prosper so extensively is what impressed many economists. They contribute the phenomenon to:

  • An English-speaking population
  • Unions
  • Female participation in the labor force
  • Previous investment in higher education
  • Foreign investments
  • Low corporate tax rates

Other experts on the Celtic Tiger point to Ireland’s participation in the European Union (EU) as a catalyst for Ireland’s economic growth. EU inclusion made loans and funding, which could be used to improve Ireland’s internal structure, widely available.

It is also important to note that the sectors responsible for this boom were technology (export-based) and pharmaceuticals. As a result of these industries, real estate and standard of living costs rose, creating a secondary economic boom (the 2000 to 2007 era.)

There is one fact that makes the Celtic Tiger different than any other economic boom in history: the Ireland economy collapsed again in 2008. The GDP contracted a shocking 14%. Unemployment rates reached an equally shocking 14% in 2011, taking Ireland on a pendulum swing towards abject poverty.

According to Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev, an Economist for the Sunday Times, Ireland (like other European countries) is starting to see an upswing into economic recovery. The projection is for continued growth in the manufacturing sector in the third and fourth quarter of 2013. However, the growth these estimates refer to is likely to be slow and steady.

Finally, while the Celtic Tiger saw a phenomenal upswing in the economy, keep in mind that Ireland tours and Irish tourism accounts for about 4% of the (Gross National Profit) GNP. And Ireland is consistently voted one of the best places to visit.

So, regardless of the status of the Celtic Tiger, we recommend that you pick up an Irish travel guide, learn some Irish phrases,
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