The pharmaceutical industry was one of the strongest performing sectors of the Celtic Tiger era. During the past two decades, employment growth in the sector has been strong and continuous, even when, in recent years, employment in other manufacturing sectors has been contracting. Although positive in itself, from a dynamic regional development perspective it is important to explore the qualitative changes in the types of activities that are conducted in Ireland. Adopting a global production network approach, the paper examines Ireland's changing role in global production networks within the pharmaceutical industry, focusing on the different components of manufacturing and research and development (R&D). The analysis shows that Ireland's involvement in manufacturing has shifted in the direction of relatively higher value generating activities. Within R&D, although the level of value creation has increased substantially, Ireland's involvement nonetheless remains concentrated in the (relatively) lower value generating activities of the global R&D network. In addition, the sector remains strongly dominated by foreign companies so that a large share of the created value is not captured within Ireland. Â© 2009 Geographical Society of Ireland.