We explain the 2008 crisis in Iceland and Ireland with an emphasis on the role financialisation played in destabilising these countries’ economies. The two small open economies share similarities in that both countries had capital inflows before the crisis, ending with a sudden stop. However, the mechanisms of the crisis, which induced the capital flows, the factors that influenced them and their effects on the real economy differed due to differences in currency regimes and the response to the crises. We investigate the link between financialisation and the transmission channels of financialisation on the macroeconomy, using ARDL methodology. Finally, we suggest policy prescriptions to limit the scale and scope of similar crises in the future while highlighting the institutional differences between the two economies.