Friday 23 March 2018

Medb Ruane: A haunting legacy of the crash is ghost-estate residents paying the price for someone else's greed

Cill Rialaig is one of Kerry's most encouraging townlands. Its original people left because they couldn't make a living there so the old stones were scattered, the hearths never warmed. Only ghosts lived on -- along with rats and rambling cattle.

Gable walls still stood up to extravagant Atlantic scenery when Noelle Campbell Sharp decided to reclaim it as a colony for the imagination and restore it, brick by brick. The scar on the landscape became a celebration of courage and determination.

Cill Rialaig came to mind this week when various talking heads spoke about ghost estates, those ugly, unserviced, unfinished monuments to Ireland's so-called property boom. Pat Kenny devoted his The Frontline to personal stories of decent people trapped between rocks and hard places, never mind appallingly negative equity. Then he tried to make sense of the lunacy (as if anyone can).

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