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The Idle Tower,
Cork City



Apogee of the Celtic Tiger economy


The "Celtic Tiger" economy had reached its peak and begun to decline by the summer of 2008.

The United-States' housing credit crisis with its global influence happened when the Irish economy had already begun to slow.

The Celtic Tiger (the term derived from earlier, analogous phenomena in east Asia) was a thunderous growth year-over-year that brought Ireland from poverty to riches within two decades.

But the growth went awry. The booming economy was feeding on itself.

Establishments like champagne bars began to show up in small towns. Clearly the end was near.

I did a bit of work around this time in Gortnahoo, rural County Kilkenny, in a row of 8 "semi-detached" three-bedroom two-level units. The anticipated, posted selling price of each house had been €210,000, but had been marked down at that time to €169,000 — marked down while they were still being finished.

In 2008, everybody began to understand that property valuations were going down (which is part of the reason that they were going down.) Construction was decreasing, and people were losing their jobs. Some of the construction workers, European-Union foreign nationals, were returning to their own lands. They would not be renting or buying homes in Ireland.

There was no bottom.

In 2012, the National Asset Management Agency for the first time started the demolition of one of 1,800-plus apartment blocks that litter the country unoccupied and falling apart.


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