How come you dont find many houses with basements in Ireland?

Maximises builder profit?

Because they cost a fortune -€250 / sq.ft…
Only a few places where it would be worth building.

That’s a really interesting figure. I wonder why pretty much all houses in Austria, Switzerland and Germany have basements but it’s not viable to build them in Ireland. As far as I know many (most?) houses in the US also have basements. Perhaps the higher population densities in these countries make land more valuable than in Ireland, or perhaps building costs are lower. But there are plenty of rural houses in other countries with basements.

Perhaps a major reason that we don’t have basements in Ireland is that houses are sold based on the number of bedrooms in the house, not the number of square metres. So people are as willing to pay for extra partition walls as they are for extra usable space. Or perhaps the damp climate in Ireland makes it difficult to keep basements dry.


I’d imagine damp climate is not conducive. Not really common in UK either except London

Laziness. Ignorance.

Cellars and basements maintain constant humidity and a constant temprature, they feel cool in summer and warm in winter.
Traditionally we used pits to store root veg, and salted our meat, Basements are not required.
Since the invention of the fridge and supermarket what proportion of new houses in America, Germany or Switzerland have basements?

In America, it’s probably close to 100%.

It’s to do with the fact that most of our construction is block and concrete built. In the States and suburban Europe, most residential builds are timber frame. This is done for the most part for climactic reasons. In the States, natural disasters are a big factor in the choosing of timber frame construction as the preffered build method. It’s easier and far cheaper to lash up a new frame on top of footings after a hurricane than to start from scratch.

When digging the founds for a timber frame house, it doesn’t cost a massive amount extra to turn the foundations themselves into a basement room. If you want a basement under a block built house, you have to pile way deep into the ground as the weight of the house and basement needs structural support.

Still see no compelling reasons other than Laziness and Ignorance.

You have to view Ireland through the prism of other similarly stupid things that persist without inquiry and then became established defacto.

Remember how for decades the middle doors where a thing of real mystery to the average commuter on a Dublin Bus until the odd tourist would try to use it correctly. Little did they know an entire society was against them.

AFAIK when Dublin bus got the more recent models of buses some years ago (bit not that long ago) they got the manufacturer to remove the middle door. Classic case of the Progress = Regress liberally applied here.

So can anyone tell me why the middle door just doesn’t work in Ireland like it does everywhere else? Is it too damp? :unamused:

AFAIK it was an industrial relations thing in Dublin Bus, the drivers were told they were responsible for fare evasion, accidents etc. at the middle doors, so they refused to use them…

I think you’ll find it coincided with the new wider wheelchair friendly doors; the wheelchair space is where the door used to be.

Mind you, London busses have dual doors and wheelchair access too

I think the middle door issue goes back to the start of one person operation which was mid 80’s, most buses in those days had a couple of steps up into them so it was long before any consideration was given to wheelchair users. Wheelchair accessibility - kneeling buses with ramps only started this century I think - open to correction on this one…

The three major problems with basements in Ireland are 1) water table/moisture issues (in some areas) and 2) existence of rock which can be extremely expensive to excavate. 3) radon.

Unless you are looking for an underground pool the cost to continually pump the water would be cost prohibitive IMO.

+1 and it is even worse if you are in a flood plain.

Before we blame ignorance and laziness we should look at where Georgian/Edwardian builders put basements (very few where below ground level in Ireland).

Bit of a hazy recall from a book I read: Can’t find a link for this but someone may have more details.

During the famine many Irish people went to Manchester/Liverpool/Glasgow and lived in basements, which were overcrowded dank etc… and many died due to periodic flooding.

So some cities banned basements and had them all filled in with sand.

It’s amazing really the whole of Georgian Dublin is built on one giant basement when you think about it.

Laziness and Ignorance.

I don’t know about the rest of the country, but many Dublin houses are just a foot or two away from the water table.

Given that someone drowned in a basement flat just off Harold’s Cross Road not 4 months ago, the flooding reason doesn’t sound too unreasonable.

Most rural properties hardly need basements, there’s enough land to build without and excavation costs including removal of soil(not even rock) seem very high (based on what it cost my parents to get rid of what they had to clear from a bank to level the ground and then clearing out for foundations).

But mostly I think it’s just cultural - it wouldn’t dawn on people to think of asking for one.

Foundations should be deeper than the frost line in the ground. That’s not as deep in temperate Ireland as continental Europe or America. If you’re digging deeper for the foundation, you may as well make a room out of it.