Monday, July 4, 2011

Ghost Estates

We intended to go play tennis, but we somehow got distracted and explored some ghost estates. Only one of them produced okay pictures though, so I'm gonna discuss that here. Here's the view of a massive on from the road. Only four houses were ever built but we still explored it for ages.

Here you can see the four houses clearly. They were a really long walk away!

There was stuff everywhere that I imagine could be sold for lots of moneys. Technically these estates don't belong to anybody. The companies that built them don't exist any more and the banks don't want them because of how much they would cost to clean them up. In my head I imagined that construction in these places had simply paused and would eventually resume, but logically I know that this will never happen. A hundred years from now they will stand, overgrown, as a tribute to what they might call the Great Recession.

This ran all the way up the side, I imagine it would be a reasonable-sized stream in winter.

Here you can see that the site just goes on forever. This would have cost the developers millions of euros to buy. For each proposed estate the developers had to pay the county council €200,000 euro to clean it up and make it safe for it the company went bust, but this money appears to have disappeared down the cracks.

Squillions of red bricks that are going to go to waste.

We found a bike too. I have no idea how it got here or who just left their bike behind them, but it was rusted stuck, the pedals wouldn't even turn.

Foundations as far as the eye could see. Why didn't they build it in stages?

As you might be able to guess from the size of the gravel underfoot, this adventure was seriously hard on the ankles. You could so easily hurt yourself, but I'm not blaming anybody or giving out about this instance, this estate is fenced off and boarded up, I went in here knowing exactly what sort of dangers I could have been putting myself in. On the other hand, we visited a different estate with some people living in it, unfinished, with all sorts of dangerous terrain and materials lying around. How would I feel if I had bought one of these houses off plan, as was so common, and now I had to live on a building site unsafe for any children I might have for the rest of my life?

It goes off for miles in the other direction.

Foundations forever.

Some semblance of what would have become a road.

The four houses, looking like outcrops in a vast desert.

These electric cables weren't properly covered, I could in theory have just lifted the cover off.

Judging by the number on the door, they had high hopes for this place. Note the mould on the door handle.

A picture through the window of the house farthest to the left. This must have been intended to be the show house. Look at the fancy, modern wallpaper and wooden floors. (I still thought of the model home from Arrested Development. Actually, this whole estate reminds me of that.)

Here's the view of the four houses close up.

Yes, those are salt shakers in the back kitchen window. It's amazing, it's got a Mary Celeste vibe to it, although nobody ever actually lived here. It's totally inaccessible by car. There was a brand-new washing machine in there too, still in its shrink wrap. It's incredibly sad to think that there are people homeless on Ireland's streets when this house which will never be used is locked up.

This is the side/back garden of that house. The thistles were nearly as tall as I am.

Rolls of designer wallpaper going mouldy and sunbleached in the window.

See the corrosion on the door handle? I just wonder, is this because it was neglected, and if so how? Is it just a cheap door handle, and would this have happened even if there were people living here? Overall the impression was that these houses were incredibly poorly and cheaply built, as was the case with most of these totally unnecessary estates. There are almost five thousand of these ghost estates in Ireland. What were these developers thinking? Who did they imagine was going to move into them? Where were these people going to appear out of?

I hadn't expected it, but the doors on the houses were rather shortsightedly locked. I was hence not surprised to discover one of the back windows smashed. I didn't go in because I would have cut myself to ribbons.

In any case, it wasn't necessary, as only the first two houses had door handles. It was easy to get into the third and fourth houses.

As you can see they're not well built. There are no proper walls inside the house, when they were finished you could have punched through to your next-door neighbour. It's just aluminium and fiberglass, which would eventually have been plasterboarded over. I imagine the finished houses would have been freezing in the winter.

The picture seen below is the dividing wall between two houses. You would not only have heard your neighbours' music or their baby crying, you would have heard them turn over in bed with walls so thin.

How much is all this wasted foam insulation worth? It breaks my heart to see waste because I was raised not to waste anything and I was raised to know the value of everything.

No stairs, just a ladder up. Mark climbed it and said there was nothing to see so I saved conquering my fear of heights for something more worthy.

Here you can see the gap under the back door.

Just aluminium with a cement chimney.

Piles and piles of beautiful tiles, stacked up, never to be used.

The view back to the road, with more piles of red bricks.

You can see here that the houses came flat-packed.

Here is an absolute mountain of what I can only assume was sand or gravel or something. It probably cost a lot of money. Now there's four-foot-high grass growing on it and it's lost forever.

The 'road' back to civilisation. I was getting pretty tired at this stage.

I thought it was pretty cool how so much can grow in a place like this.

Here's what was probably the site office. Lol at the fact that the gate was bolted shut!

The cows freaked out when they saw us and started stampeding all over the gaff.

I found this 'No Overtaking' sign humourous.

Massive concrete pipes.

I sustained a sexy injury exiting the site, as the wall was higher on the exit side than the entrance side. It doesn't look like much here but it will bruise nicely.

And some random photos off my camera for your viewing pleasure. Here's the sea at Bundoran from when we went there on our anniversary.

Here's Mark drinking Tesco energy drink stuff... I think it's called kick.

And of course no post is complete without a picture of me, is it?