Bliss or blight? The jury is still out
Published 20/05/2015 | 02:30
There are many differing opinions regarding what type of building design is appropriate for the Irish countryside. A clean, simple, unfussy look is generally accepted as best but residences of all appearances, shapes and sizes continue to spring up along our minor roads and lanes, often in the most unlikely places.
Some are unobtrusive, well sited and attractive and some are, shall we say, less than ideal.
In 1970, the late Jack Fitzsimons published the now famous, or according to some critics, infamous book Bungalow Bliss which became a runaway best seller.
Whatever one might think of the designs, there is no doubt that Jack provided a great service by supplying house plans at a very modest cost. Naturally, the architectural profession objected, but then what is good design? Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.
Much of the criticism that was heaped on the new houses dotting our scenic rural areas was due to the habit of building them on hill tops rather than within the landscape. In the 1970s a rash of bungalows undoubtedly diminished many areas of great natural beauty.
More recently the Celtic Tiger years produced some awful 'McMansions' which were not only large and intrusive but were often located in the most prominent positions possible.
Presumably this was to announce to the rest of us that their owners were now wealthy, a bit like the British did in the 17th and 18th centuries. Just in case we might miss them, some even had their exteriors floodlit at night time.
Facebook currently hosts a page titled 'Ugly Irish Houses' which introduces us to what they call "hideous Celtic Tiger mansions" and it is amusing to scroll down the images.