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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
celtic tiger RIP

Boomtime: 9 Celtic Tiger ads you won't see these days...

100 per cent mortgages, chandeliers for the utility room: the bubble-era ads that enticed us to buy, buy, buy (on the never-never).

DISPOSABLE INCOME – did we ever really have as much as we were told we had in the Celtic Tiger era?

Marketing moguls seemed to think we had – or at least could get our hands on the high-interest overdraft/credit card that would sustain a big spending habit. We think it unlikely that these ads would pass without comment these days…

Helicopter rides to the races

Sure how else would you get to the Galway Races? Or your child’s First Holy Communion? (True story). When the limo became stuck in the mud, helicopters became de rigeur. A sign of the times is news that Celtic Helicopters, the company controlled by Ciaran Haughey, is to have a liquidator appointed at a meeting tomorrow. Here he is in more lucrative times, jacket thrown nonchalantly over his shoulder…

(Pic: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland)

Sex sells… 100 per cent mortgages

The rush to get a ‘foot on the property ladder’ was best exemplified by this TV ad from Bank of Ireland in 2005 which encouraged young people to get a room of their own – with a 100 per cent mortgage. As the uploader of the video on Youtube, darzo, notes: “A 100% mortgage at the top of the market. What could possibly go wrong?”

The surgically-enhanced grandmother

The now liquidated Advanced Cosmetic Surgery company caught the eye in the year 2000 with nationwide billboards featuring the surgically-enhanced naked body of its MD, Halina Ashdown Shiels, “48, grandmother”. This is her standing in front of one of them in Donnybrook, Dublin in February that year – before the company collapsed amid debts and controversy over the death of a mother-of-six in recovery following surgery at one of their clinics. A coroner ruled the woman had died of natural causes but the surgeon who operated was the subject of complaints from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to the Medical Council that same year, 2007.

(Pic: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland)

Chandeliers on the back of Dublin Bus

Back in 2007, the Cedar Lounge Revolution blog noted the appearance of ads on the back of Dublin buses for a company called (that website is now defunct). The tagline went: “Classic chandeliers: Your Home is worth it”. As blogger joemomma said:

I couldn’t help but imagine my fellow Dubliners seeing the ad and deciding that a great big chandelier was just the thing to complete their domestic bliss and stave off the negative equity blues.

Pre-construction apartments – in St Lucia

This ad ran on the front page of the Irish Times on 24 March, 2005. “The Landings is an exclusive resort comprising stunning waterfront residences set in a private harbour.” Lovely, no doubt, and a special offer for buying at the “pre-construction” stage.

“You have arrived.” It’s just that your gaff isn’t built yet.

(Pic: Dublin City Library and Archive/Irish Times/Premier Resorts)

Sexy kitchen counters

The Belmayne housing estate in Dublin has lost much of its glamour since these saucy ads were revealed for the development in 2007. (You may or may not remember Jamie Redknapp and wife Louise from pop group Eternal to launch it). Seriously though – did we really think a hardwood counter top and Shaker-style kitchen cabinets were the formula to a raunchy love life? The developers hoped we would…

(Pic: Archive billboard shot/Susan Daly)

Shopping trip deals – to New York

Remember how there was a customs crackdown warning in 2007 at Irish airports? Irish people were returning from New York loaded down with so much booty from shopping trips there that there was a €175 limit imposed on items brought back into Ireland. Oh, Macys, we miss you:

(Pic: Leon Farrell/ Photocall Ireland)

‘Limited edition’ American-style fridge freezer

Along with the leatherette recliner couches, the aforementioned crystal chandeliers and acres of cream deep-pile carpet, the American-style fridge freezer became a status symbol de rigeur for the penthouse apartment owner in your life. We’re sure they still sell here but we doubt we’ll be seeing any ads here soon for this kind of ‘limited edition’ giant appliance as showcased in Milan this year… A Smeg fridge-freezer covered in denim.

(via AppliancesOnlineAU/Youtube)

Swarovski crystals on everything

If you didn’t own a Swarovski-encrusted something or other in the Celtic Tiger, you just weren’t playing the game. The Swarovski store is still open on Grafton Street but we haven’t noticed as many obvious ads as this 2007 campaign for its ‘Active Crystals’ Philips Swarovski collection in which you could buy crystallised earphones and crystallised USB memory keys. As you did.

(Pic: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland)

We’re sure you can think of some more outrageous Celtic Tiger era ads… tell us in the comments section.

Read: What’s left? Over 1 million adults have less than €50 after bills>

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