Allegedly coined by the Irish economist David [=McWilliams=] (but the first recorded use of the phrase is by Kevin Gardiner), as a description of the Irish economy of the late nineties and early millennium years, nothing could be more apt... except for the space shuttle Challenger. A term stolen from the Asian tiger Economies of the early nineties, it describes how, propelled by government incompetence and corruption, and a shedload of Euro from nowhere, the Irish Economy got off the launchpad through cheers all around.
For ten years it soared as if nothing was wrong, surviving the (dot)bust and 9/11. And then, suddenly, like Challenger, when everything looked like it was okay, the whole lot blew up. The tiger is dead, killed by the great recession of 2008 and TheNewTens.