Celtic Tiger

DEFINITION of 'Celtic Tiger'

A nickname for Ireland during its boom years of the late 1990s, when it enjoyed an average annual growth rate of over 6.5%. The first boom was in the late 1990s when investors (many of them tech firms) poured in, drawn by the country's favorable tax rates - some as much as 20-50% lower than the rest of Europe. It ended with the bursting of the internet bubble in 2001.

The second boom in 2004 was largely the result of Ireland opening its doors to workers from new EU member nations. Increases in house prices, continued investment by multinationals, growth in jobs and tourism, a resurgence of the IT industry and the U.S. economic recovery have all been cited as contributing factors for the revival.

BREAKING DOWN 'Celtic Tiger'

The term is a variation on "Asian Tiger" - a reference to Asia's economic growth. Since 2004, many economists have referred to Ireland's economy as Celtic Tiger 2 because of the country's resurgence on the world stage.