Saturday 24 August 2019

14 things you won't believe Irish people did during the Celtic Tiger

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Clare Cullen

While many twenty-somethings may not remember the height of the Celtic Tiger, or 'boom time', it was a vastly different time to the recession-clad Ireland of today.

Here is our list of 14 things you won't believe Irish people did, or could do, during the boom.


1. Getting 100% mortgages.

Some people were even getting up to 150% mortgages - a bit extra to cover some nice furniture. Wasn't that nice of the banks?


2. Christmas Shopping in New York

Some Irish people used to just 'pop over' to New York for a bit of shopping - as you do!


3. Drink champagne in the hairdressers

Back in the 'good times', Irish people were not only offered tea and water in the hairdressers but also had the option of champagne.

Making a toast


4. Getting student loans on minimum wage

Many students working minimum wage jobs were able to get loans and overdrafts of a couple of thousand euro, with no way to pay it back in the foreseeable future.


5. Arriving to your children's First Holy Communion in a helicopter

In 2007, Celtic Helicopters recently reported a healthy business from the parents of children taking Communion at a measly cost of €1,250 an hour.

Business meetings were sometimes scheduled based on the nearest location to a heli-pad, often meaning those people still using cars were heavily inconvenienced. 

At least one company saw the funny side and offered to put the 'leftover Celtic Tiger helicopters' to a good use.


6. Lavish 21sts

In 2007, a property developer booked Girl Aloud for his daughter's 21st. The group were reportedly flown by private jet to Dublin and performed on stage before mingling with guests. According to event planners, the cost of the band alone could have been anything up to €400,000.

Developer Johnny Ronan was also reported to have gifted his daughter a 'Super Sweet 21st', with a €500,000 price tag. Guests at the party in Enniskerry downed gallons of Montrachet wine at €150 a bottle.

Let's not forget that giving cars as 18th and 21st presents also became the done thing in the Celtic Tiger.


7. Skiing holidays

Anyone who was 'anyone' went skiing at least once a year, if not twice.

Skiers on a chairlift at the ski resort of Porte Puymorens, south-western France, as they enjoyed a rare June ski session (AP)


8. Gran Canaria 'Leaving Cert' holidays

Leaving Cert students would often celebrate the end of their Leaving Cert by jetting off as a group to Gran Canaria or even Ibiza. These excursions would often be wild, and young Irish people developed quite a bad name overseas for a while.


9. Giving shares as presents

The daughter of one wealthy business family had to make do with shares for her 30th birthday. Unimaginative present but we're sure she wasn't too upset as she was given €11 million in company shares.


10. Visiting Santa in Lapland

Children used to be brought by their parents to meet the main man himself in  person. In Lapland. Those were the days.

Santa Claus prepars his Reindeer and sled in Rovaniemi, on December 16, 2008. Rovaniemi's Christmas theme park is in full swing, teeming mainly with families with children eager to meet Santa and his elves. In 2007, almost one million tourists visited Finnish Lapland above the Arctic Circle, 360,000 of whom were foreigners, mainly from Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Russia, according to the regional council of Lapland. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

11. Vera Wang Wedding dresses

Vera Wang dresses in Brown Thomas retailed at more than the average recession wedding budget - a simple Wang could be bought for a cool €25,000.


12. Luxury gyms

Looking back, did Irish people really need gyms with chandeliers?



13. Max the Credit cards

During the Celtic Tiger, it was no problem to 'put it on the credit card' and worry about it later- sure, you could always get a loan to pay it off if you had to.

Some would argue this attitude may have somewhat contributed to where we are now.


14. Watched '30 Things to do with your SSIA'/Listened to Eddie Hobbs

The notion of a 'Special Savings Incentive Account' seems like a distant memory now. Even more distant is the image of Eddie Hobbs on the television telling us the best way to spend our plunder. It's so long ago now, we can't remember how tongue-in-cheek it was, but the number one things to spend your SSIA on was getting elected to politics.

"Take a punt on politics. Popularity with the public could win you some perks - and potentially give you a 3,500pc return on your investment," we were told.

Eddie Hobbs pictured for Barry Egan interview. Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 20/12/12


Have we missed any? Let us know on Twitter!




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