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Recalling the Celtic Tiger

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Edited By Eamon Maher, Eugene O'Brien and Brian Lucey

This book looks at various effects, symptoms and consequences of the period in Irish culture known as the Celtic Tiger. It will trace the critical pathway from boom to bust – and up to the current beginnings of a similar, smaller boom – through events, personalities and products. The short entries offer a sense of the lived experience of this seismic period in contemporary Irish society.

While clearly not all aspects of the period could realistically be covered, the book does contain essential information about the central actors, events, themes, and economic trends, which are discussed in a readable and accessible manner. Each entry is linked to the overall Celtic Tiger phenomenon and its immediate aftermath.

The book also provides a comprehensive account of what happened in this period and will be a factual resource for anyone anxious to discover information on the areas most commonly connected to it. All entries are written by experts in the area. The contributors include broadcasters, economists, cultural theorists, sociologists, literary critics, journalists, politicians and writers, each of whom brings particular insights to some aspect of the Celtic Tiger.

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Second Houses (Constantin Gurdgiev)

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Constantin Gurdgiev

Second Houses

In the later stages of the Celtic Tiger, second houses (owner-occupied properties acquired for the purpose of vacations and leisure time), became the symbol of household wealth and membership in the ever-expanding club of families who were ‘winners’ in the New Ireland. Fear of missing out on the property boom that fuelled purchases of buy-to-rent properties in the 2000–7 period, also drove up the demand for holiday homes.

The boom in second homes started around 2000–1, when both foreign and rural domestic properties saw growth in marketing campaigns in the Republic on foot of rising prosperity. By 2006, a bubble of its own, distinct to the primary residencies price bubble, emerged in the demand for second homes by Irish investors. As Irish taxi drivers, Gardaí, nurses and other middle-class households raced to take out equity loans against their primary residences and buy-to-let properties, Irish buyers flocked to bid on holiday apartments and houses in such exotic, and often questionable – in terms of property rights of foreign buyers and other markets’ fundamentals – destinations, such as Cape Verde, Dubai, Bulgaria, Romania, South Africa and even Brazil. By 2006, Irish buyers of foreign real estate were spending well over €1 billion per annum on second homes abroad. The market got a significant boost with the maturity of the €14 billion in the Special Savings Incentive Accounts (SSIA). At the peak of this speculative rush to ‘invest’ offshore, Prestige Properties – a leading...

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