With the government set to introduce measures to tackle the growing problem of ghost and unfinished estates that have blighted many parts of the country, I’ve been musing over a few pieces that discuss how many vacant or half built estates there are out there. And to be honest, the result is shocking; It does go someway to explaining why the economy has gone arse over tits, when it placed it’s future on a building industry that was obviously over-supplying a demand that was sure to run out; A recent report by the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Planning estimated that there were over 600 “ghost estates” and a figure of 300,000 empty, newly built properties in Ireland. Mainly located in the midlands and west of the country in towns that were heralded as “commuter” and “gateway” towns like Mullingar and Tullamore, they were built to serve a steady stream of workers who, rather than pay the extortionate property prices in Dublin, preferred to pay the slightly less extortionate prices and commute the couple of hours every day. Madness.
What does this have to do with “Dublin Life & Culture” I hear you ask? Well, for while the Irish landscape is littered with ghastly looking ghost estates, we have ghostly looking mansions, castles and buildings of historical importance that are left to the throes of time also. “Abandoned Ireland” is a website I’ve been championing for a while now. The website is a personal project, started in June 2008 by Tarquin Blake. The idea is to document these buildings before age and rot erase them from our landscape forever. The website has the tagline; “Record it. Document it. Before it’s gone; Touch nothing. Take nothing. leave only footsteps.”
I’ve spent hours trawling this website, there are some fantastic pictures here, covering everywhere from Bolands Mills and the Magazine Fort in Phoenix Park Magazine Fort (two examples above) to abandned mines in Wicklow. You wonder somehow, in two hundred years, will the ghost estates of Dublins sattelite towns induce the same sense of wonder as the buildings AI is documenting? Somehow I doubt it.
Check out www.abandonedireland.com.