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How a Marsupial killed Ireland’s Celtic Tiger

Image by Storme from Pixabay

The Celtic Tiger was a period spanning from the mid-1990s to the late 2000s. This era was a time of great vitality for the Irish population. Ireland was going through an economic boom and for the first time in history, The country had various ways of employment available on its shores. Young people could afford to stay in Ireland and not emigrate like previous generations. The younger generation could also afford to purchase homes and start families in their country of origin. The middle class of Ireland started to have a more luxurious lifestyle, Irish people began to go on numerous holidays a year, and the masses also started purchasing expensive cars and designer clothes, many parts of the Irish population started eating in expensive restaurants, and enjoying rich cuisine from all across the globe. Banks began to offer loans with almost no consequences which could be suggested to be a major factor in the demise of this economic expansion. One thing that was also well documented is the drug-taking of this era. Like the US in the 80s, the Irish began to take Class-A drugs like Cocaine. Cocaine was quite evident in many circles as quite a symbolic tool of the Celtic Tiger. Cocaine statistics have continued to rise throughout the years and it can be argued that the appetite for substances like this began back in the Celtic Tiger. One story that would truly symbolize the demise of the Tiger would be the tragic death of Katie French. Katie was a media personality who died after a heavy night of partying and taking Cocaine in 2007. Many would link stories like this to the collapse of the Celtic Tiger. Partying to excess was not uncommon before the Celtic Tiger however the combination of drink and drugs was somewhat new to the Irish middle class, Here at the Circular we look into a story you may not have heard of. It could be said to be a major turning point for the end of the Celtic Tiger. This bizarre story happened back in 2010 when it was discovered that a Marsupial (Wallaby) had died in a Dublin nightclub. Can this be the story to signify the end of this overindulgent time? Here at the Circular, we explore this quite unusual story below.

During the Celtic Tiger Irish identity went through some major changes. Historically speaking Irish people would not have been recognised as affluent people. Irish people can be remembered worldwide as creative artists, musicians, and storytellers. Another thing Irish people would be well-known for globally was, unfortunately, emigration, Irish people went to different parts of the world for a better value of life. During the birth of the Celtic Tiger Ireland was only an independent country just under 100 years, and by 1990 Ireland was only 150 years past the famine. Ireland would go through consistent economic issues through the early years of independence. Recessions and mass excesses would occur and lead to younger generations leaving the country. The nation never really had a grasp of the economy and always struggled until the mid-90s and the start of the Celtic Tiger. This time completely changed Irish society, this economic boom would change the perceptions of how Irish people viewed themselves. The successes of the Irish economy brought new things to our society. Ireland began to become more cosmopolitan. This change in society brought a new level of confidence to the Irish public. However, this shift can also be suggested to have changed parts of Irish culture that were inherently important to the country. It can be argued things like tradition and several cultural practices were challenged by the country’s exposure to globalization. It may be suggested that Ireland lost their humility. The incident that I will discuss below is a moment in time when Ireland lost this important part of their culture with the over-exposure of wealth during this time.

Image by MAIRA ALI from Pixabay

On Saturday the 23rd of October 2010, an incident at the Clarion Hotel in Liffey Valley occurred. it was reported that a small Wallaby was released onto the dancefloor as revelers celebrated a 30th birthday party. Hotel manager Garrteh Marrinan became suspicious as he noticed a lot of attention during the party around a cardboard box and out of it came a large dog he suggests. We now know it was a Wallaby. Poor footage on a phone at the time was released on Facebook. the footage showed a Marsupial being abused and released onto the dance floor. This particular moment can be suggested as the death of the Celtic Tiger. Irish artist Blindboy suggested in his podcast that this was the level of entitlement in Irish society at the time. He suggests that it represented everything that the Celtic Tiger stood for, with extreme levels of excessiveness being displayed. The creature was brought to the 30th party as a prank. Marsupials normally can be found in Australia however there have been many roaming free on Lambay island off the coast of Dublin. The island is privately owned by the Baring family and the first wallaby was introduced to the island back in 1950. Since then Dublin Zoo continue to let Wallaby free on the island. Could this be where the partygoers got the Wallaby? During the party, it is believed that the Wallaby was passed around the nightclub and it is widely believed that the Wallaby was given alcohol and drugs rumored to be either Ecstasy or Cocaine. The story was widely covered for only a couple of days. You can view media outlet TV3 now Virgin Media’s coverage below.

14 years later the reports remain inconclusive. Numerous questions remain unanswered including how somebody got a marsupial and brought it to a 30th Birthday party, did the wallaby die? and where is it buried. Throughout the years there have been many rumors of what happened, including that the wallaby was rented from a circus 10 minutes away from the hotel. Other reports suggest that the animal died after taking multiple drugs including cocaine at the party, and was buried up the Dublin/Wicklow mountains. Many nightclubs during the Celtic Tiger celebrated throughout this time, Local nightclubs welcomed massive acts to DJ at their club. Nightclubs also had other sources of entertainment. These sources of entertainment were extremely jubilant and carnivalesque like dancers acrobats, and fire breathing on stage. One other thing happening was the use of exotic animals including Snakes this overuse of excessiveness was a perfect theme during the Celtic Tiger and may be why these people saw it to be ok to bring a Wallaby to this party. This was extremely shameful during this time and to look back now this could be viewed as animal cruelty.

Image by IULIAN TUCA SIMINICIUC from Pixabay

Still to this day, nobody knows what happened to the innocent Wallaby. Unfortunately at the time, the story’s media coverage would vanish. Media coverage started to focus on another massive story going on in Irish society at the time. Ireland’s economy began to collapse and the country started to go into a recession. This recession would lead to over 300,000.00 young Irish people emigrating. During the week of this story being in the public domain, the IMF arrived in Ireland to begin talks with the Irish Government over a bailout, and the Wallaby story disappeared. Now it remains a forgotten tale of how the death of a Marsupial in a Dublin nightclub may have led to the symbolic demise of the Celtic Tiger. During this time it is well documented that we lived excessively for better or worse it is truly a pivotal time in Ireland’s history and can be argued to have put the country on the world stage.

If you enjoyed this time, below is a new podcast called ‘The Way Back When Podcast’ produced by the Circular. In this podcast, we look at stories from time gone by. We take a look into society and culture from our selected era. This month we look at the Celtic Tiger and chat you through some of our favorite stories of the era, including this one.

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