Once the ‘sick man of Europe’, the Irish Republic is now hailed as the ‘Celtic Tiger’. Commentators and politicians, both within and outside Ireland, point to the Republic's supposedly dazzling economic success as evidence of how nations can flourish in a globalised world. I question this notion, suggesting that Ireland's improved economic performance is best explained by a combination of factors, which cannot simply be lumped under the term ‘globalisation’. Indeed, they seem directly to contradict many of the arguments made in the name of globalisation. However, I also contend that ideas about globalisation may play an increasingly important role in Irish economic developments.