Ireland: Ruins of Prosperity


Ireland in Meltdown mode.

Inquiring minds are upon the Emerald Isle known as Ireland and seeing a parallel universe:

The sky is low, low and almost black – not for long, to be sure, for the Irish weather really is as unsettled and changeable as the cliché has it. In any case, it is only a few minutes before gusts of wind have torn holes in the blanket of cloud, holes, gaps, rifts, allowing shafts of light to penetrate as if searchlights were being played over the hills – look! there, there and there.

In the next moment the countryside is bathed in soft light, the magical light that everyone who knows Ireland rhapsodises about. It is as if a blurred copy of itself had settled over the hills; there seem to be two outlines: the sleeping face superimposed on the one that is awake. This soft focus makes even the bungalows bearable – not beautiful, but bearable – the bungalows which during the boom years sprang up everywhere like mushrooms.

And how were all these homes built?

Credit.

Just that simple…

House after house was built, as politicians and bankers vaunted the strength, nay, the invulnerability of the Celtic tiger, and Irish men and women ran up credit and took out mortgages as if there was no tomorrow, as if there was only the here and now, as if growth and success were the only possibility.

Credit for televisions the size of cinema screens, credit for second and third cars, for deep freezers, for suites of furniture, computers, kitchens, bathrooms, for three or four holidays a year. Mortgages for houses and mortgages for holiday homes – as an investment – on the Black Sea in Bulgaria, in Ibiza, Mallorca or Madeira.

My timid question as to whether perhaps this new, modern, successful lifestyle, so far removed from the one the older generation knew, this way of living on the never-never, might not rest on rather flimsy foundations, was met with pitying smiles: Ah, listen to the blow-in, he knows better than we do! He thinks he´s the clever one!

The entire article is well worth the time investment. You just might be reading the future of the United States.

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