In the 1970’s Ireland was a poor agricultural society with one of the lowest standards of living in Northern Europe. By 1985 per capita GDP stood at 70% of the European Union’s core 15 states. By 2007, it had doubled to 140%. GDP Growth will be 3.5% (2018) and Ireland will remain the EU’s fastest growing economy until 2024. The Global Innovation index 2017 ranked Ireland 10th between Germany (9th) and South Korea (11th). What made these changes possible in a tiny economy on Europe’s periphery? What does a knowledge economy look like from the inside? This talk offers a personal view of what enabled such enormous change so quickly: Leveraging of fundamental scientific research and coupling high-quality education to attract foreign direct investment; Concentration on key niches coupled to a gradual move up the value chain from mere production towards ever-greater innovation.