From 1987 to 2009, Irish social partnership operated as a national framework for industrial relations. The contribution of the article is twofold. We seek to link the institutional dynamics of social partnership with the Régulation School's notions of modes of accumulation and regimes of régulation. This framework is used to explain the rise and fall of social partnership in Ireland. We argue that the regime of social partnership in Ireland can be divided into two distinct periods. In the first, social partnership contributed positively to a benign productivity-led mode of accumulation. In the second, it lost its economic functionality due mostly to financialisation taking a grip in the Irish economy. The conclusion is that social partnership had both positive and negative features, but it is unlikely to be repeated in the foreseeable future, at least not in Ireland.