IRISH RETURN: Ireland tapped the bond markets Wednesday for the first time since September 2010, when bond yields surged above 6 percent.

WHAT HAPPENED: Bondholders swapped $4.6 billion in bonds due in January 2014 for new bonds due in February 2015, delaying some of the country's debt obligations.

CONTEXT: The European Union and International Monetary Fund had to rescue Ireland out with cheap loans in November 2010 because of massive budget deficits stemming from the huge costs of bailing out the country's indebted banks.