I lived in England two and a half decades ago during a time of great prosperity. Purveyors of T-shirts were among the many people who were out to make a quick buck - or rather a quick pound. Selling T-shirts in England - particularly ones with statements meant for other people to read - is no small achievement. The weather in England is rarely warm enough for T-shirt wearing. The wearer either freezes to the bone or puts on extra clothing.

"I do not care how much your house is worth" was a statement frequently emblazoned across people's chests. Some were a little less polite.

Yes, it was not unusual for people to insist on informing all and sundry of the value of their house. It made them feel superior to lesser individuals who had not entered into the world of home ownership. A mere renter was an inferior beast to a home owner. There were people who could somehow turn a conversation about the mummies of ancient Egypt to the value of their house.

"It is only worth that much if you sell it," listeners eventually learned to respond. "Then where are you going to live?" Of course, if one was wearing the T-shirt an option was to lift ones sweater, unbutton ones plaid shirt and point at the words. Unless it was one of those rare sunny days and one was strolling along the Palace Pier in Brighton clad in nothing more than a T-shirt and rolled up trousers.

During the era of the Celtic Tiger (1996 - 2008) the value of houses in Ireland shot up through the roof. Irish people tend to hold their cards close to their chest and were not apt to annoy acquaintances and strangers with a comment such as "Do you know how much my house is worth?" Instead, many of them went out and bought bigger houses or, in many cases, several houses. The latter figured they would rent the houses to others or resell them at enormous profit. Few of the new speculators had the cash-in-hand to purchase the required properties but they found lending organizations more than willing to loan them the necessary funds. Well, as we now know the Celtic Tiger suffered an ignominious demise, the banks ran out of funds and the would-be millionairespeculators realized they would never drive a sports-car through Paris with the warm wind in their hair or whatever it is millionaires do. 

My seating companion on a March 2014 flight to Ireland was a woman from Indiana. The retired school teacher was the perfect person to be beside in an airplane. Neither overly loquacious or of the totally silent type she never once insisted in discussing her wonderful grandchildren. (Even people who do not have any will tell you about other people's grandchildren.) She did share the fact she has been visiting Ireland frequently for several years. West Cork is her particular paradise and she is seriously considering purchasing a property there. She picked my brain for information and advise. I was more than willing to share what little of both items my brain was harboring.

Yes, I said, now is a very good time to purchase a house in Ireland. The Celtic Tiger prices are gone but the market is slowly improving and prices will gradually rise. Do not purchase a building site until you ensure the County Council will allow you to build on it. If you purchase a property requiring improvements make sure they will permit them. Beware of shoddy houses quickly erected during the Celtic Tiger when everyone and his cousin became a building contractor.(A Transit van, an aluminum ladder and a few tools and you were in business.) Reconsider your desire to own a cottage way out in the remote countryside. It may be a problem when you get older and less mobile and there is the security issue. If fact, I recommend a house in an estate (subdivision) where neighbors can observe comings and goings when you are not there.

If you have ever harbored the notion of purchasing a place in Ireland now is probably the best ever time to go ahead. You will be surprised at how many other people have done so. Go for it. What's the worst that can happen? Well, you will probably have to sit beside someone on an airplane who will insist on telling you about their wonderful grand-kids.

Views: 432

Tags: Celtic Tiger, Finances, Opinion, Property, Real Estate, housing, speculators

Comment by Bit Devine on April 8, 2014 at 5:37pm

I have six years to go before I can purchase something back home...Then of course comes the wrangling...Himself, his roots are in Cork and Clare...Meself, mine are in Armagh... So where to settle for six months out of the year?

I am thinking midlands...Roscommon, Navan... or perhaps Cavan... Then he reminds me...that Achill suited us both...or Donegal...or....

Comment by P.J. Francis on April 8, 2014 at 5:55pm

You guys are at opposite ends of the little island. Someplace about halfway I would suggest but one never knows how things work out.

Comment by Bit Devine on April 8, 2014 at 6:35pm

We've six years to suss it.. and most of it will depend on where we can get the most for our monies...as the goal is to do a sort of Photographer focused accommodation, with planned day trips to off-the-beaten sites for our guests... Roscommon seems like a good center spoke

Comment by P.J. Francis on April 8, 2014 at 7:33pm

I have great memories of time spent around Lough Key Forest Park.

Comment by Gerry Regan on April 9, 2014 at 1:35pm

Yes, pedaled by the park en route to my stay at Keadue, visiting classmates from Trinity College, way back when (1974). Lovely June weather!

Comment by Dee Notaro on April 13, 2014 at 7:24am

I know you are looking at the italian surname - me mother was Irish through her parents a McGowan, a Colter, a Gallagher etc., etc., etc. -    from Sligo county....I live in Atlanta, Ga...I am curious - why do hese houses have fortresses for their front yards? And what is with the gas pump in the front yard of one?. Could someone explain?

Comment by P.J. Francis on April 13, 2014 at 7:06pm

Dee, almost every house owner in Ireland has a wall or fence and entrance gate around their property. I guess it has to do with privacy. I can't explain it any better than that. I am not sure which item is the "gas pump" -- the green wheelie bins are out because the photo was taken on garbage collection day. The piers of the gates of the house on the left may look like a gas (petrol) pump. There is a letter box attached to one pier. The people who live there have recently build the wall and the work is not yet completed. I hope this helps.

Comment by Helena Francis on June 15, 2014 at 10:14pm

The walls keeps the kids and the dogs off the road from traffic as well.

Comment by Bit Devine on June 17, 2014 at 10:25am

One can definitely tell the housing estates put up during the Tiger years... They've the "cookie cutter" look and feel, don't they?

Lough Key Forest Park is a great place to get lost in for a day...

I can see where you thought that Gate post with the Post Box looked like a petrol pump, Dee...

Comment by P.J. Francis on June 17, 2014 at 10:32am

The people with the "petrol pump" were working on wall and fence when I took the photo.


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