The National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis NIRSA defines a ghost estate
as a development of ten houses or more in which fifty per cent or less of homes are
occupied or completed. In October 2010, according to official estimates, there were
2846 ghost estates and more than 350 000 vacant homes throughout the Republic
of Ireland. Ghost estates can be found everywhere, but most of them are located in
the rural areas of the northern and western part of the country, in the counties of
Cavan, Leitrim, Longford and Roscommon, which are the estates I visited.
These empty shells are eyesores for the locals in these small towns. The crisis is affecting
the country – unemployment, debts, budget cuts, flights of capital investments – but it
is also shaping its landscape. Bitter memories left by the spectral and temporary nature
of the property boom in Ireland, ghost estates are the symbol of the property market’s
collapse, a topology of the economic disintegration of the country.