The years following the Second World War were those of the greatest economic growth that Europe had ever seen. If the countries of the Iberian Peninsula, neutral in the conflict and ruled by dictatorial regimes, enjoyed that growth and had participated in the convergence phenomenon, Ireland, also neutral but democratic, was not able to converge to the developed world. Since 1973, with petroleum crashes, the process of growth has slowed down in Europe, but it was only after 1985 that Ireland began to grow at impressive rates. We review, in an economic history perspective, the implications of the institutional environment and the economic policy decisions. We also address the consequences and plausible explanations for the different growth paths of those countries.