Fortunes, it is said, were made and lost when Tulip Mania gripped Holland in the
early 17th century. The extraordinary beautiful flowers were traded like valuables at special auctions
and demand outstripped supply as bulbs were exchanged for massive sums of money. The mania reached
its zenith in winter 1636-'37 until the market crashed spectacularly in February 1637.
It's a cautionary tale and seems to have a modern day counterpart in the property market on which
Ireland's Celtic Tiger was built and which has now collapsed, leaving many in debt and the
economy in tatters.