Urban v Rural


that’s my understanding too;

did they require a block built wall in planning? a lot of out of character boundary walls required when a dry stone wall would be more in character


Here’s a strip of housing along the old N5 where a large chunk of the houses are 5-6 metres back from the road: goo.gl/maps/tHNLCp67rf22

To me it is completely bizarre. If you are going to build yourself a house in Mayo (where there is zero land scarcity) you should really be aiming to have little to no traffic noise.


Those are definitely not once off houses, but well within a town

Back when those houses (on left) were built judging by their age that road was but a donkey trail, you can see a newish house on right about double the size and double the distance back with no access to main road


Sorry poor choice of the term one-off.

They were (presumably) built in piecemeal fashion rather than as part of a development.


Anyone familiar with Galway would know this rat run “road” that gets an huge amount of traffic since the locals are all opposed to the Galway bypass (apparently they think their little boreen is better served with a 250million light rail vs a 500 million bypass, or so their signs claim :smiley: )


now there is a road where cars leave plenty of paint on the rocks and houses :smiley: last i checked they wanted half a million for half an acre jungle site there in picture


€0.25m is the achievable price if it is already designated LDR based on the last transaction I’m aware of nearby.


If high property prices are justified in places like New York, London, Dublin even without a corresponding higher rate of pay that matches then what is the benefit of urbanisation really?

With the internet wouldn’t several large towns be better? or some alternative

Seems all that happens is people get crammed together in ever smaller property that nobody can afford. This is a consequence of so many people competing. The same goes for work, lots of people competing and no wage growth

What’s the point? Who benefits? Who loses out?


Cities do have a higher rate of pay, though. Fairly sure median pay in Dublin is a fair bit higher than anywhere else in the country. In part, this is probably driven by competition. If I’m not happy with what I’m being paid, well, there are many other employers who require the same skills within a kilometre of where I currently work. Whereas if I lived in a small town, there’d probably be at most one employer who employed people with my skillset, so they could basically pay me what they felt like; I’d be a captive audience.

There are other reasons that I’d never really consider living outside Dublin, but the employment one is a big one; for skilled workers there are huge advantages to being around many employers who need your skills.


This is an important argument. Anywhere smaller than Galway or Limerick is really going to struggle to provide any kind of range of employers and even those two can only compete in very specialised clusters and then there are plenty of jobs that can’t simply be done from a home office. There are certainly places outside the four largest urban centres where I could get a job, but they are basically single company towns. Moving job means moving county, quite likely to the other end of the country. You really are putting all your eggs in one basket.

Ireland just isn’t big enough to support more than three or four reasonably deep local employment markets.


This point is absolutely true.

The 2 biggest engines of growth in jobs in the greater Dublin area have been IT and financial services, both areas instrumental in putting pressure on all the Dublin infrastructures. Irish governments should be actively trying to get IT and financial services to cluster in another city in Ireland to get the required critical mass going there.


If the government could have encouraged the jobs to support 300,000 people to have set up in Cork, Galway and Limerick, with a 2:1:1 split over the last twenty or thirty years, rather than in Greater Dublin, then the Dublin metropolitan area would have forgone only 20% of its population and would be about 4 times the size of Cork, rather than around 10 times as big, as it is now.

This doesn’t involve concreting over the whole of historic Ireland. To take analogues from our nearest neighbour, it means that Cork would end up the size of Cardiff, rather than Exeter, while Galway and Limerick would be the size of Oxford and Cambridge, rather than Carlisle or Shrewsbury. (These are all at least reasonably pleasant, reasonably interesting places, with attractive historic cores, combined with the usual suburbia, while the larger cities in the pairs are much more economically active than the smaller ones, so I think they’re decent comparisons)

Dublin is now big enough to look after itself and small towns and villages only really appeal to people who don’t want to live in an urban centre of any significant size at all, who don’t particularly distinguish between Galway, Cork and Dublin. If the government are in any way serious about spatial planning, they should concentrate on growing places that are already within hailing distance of having properly diverse regional economies and I’m afraid Ireland can only really support two or three of those.


Hundreds of governments have tried such redistribution initiatives over the years and to my knowledge they have never been successful.

There’s a city size distribution pattern that suggests the biggest city in a country is roughly twice the size of the next biggest city, which is in turn is twice the size of the next biggest. For whatever human reasons of benefits vs costs of urban living it’s a long term historical & international phenomenon and while you might be able to push it around slightly, it’s unlikely that any government initiative, no matter how thorough will fundamentally break the rule.

io9.gizmodo.com/the-mysterious-l … 1479244159
pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2d91/1 … 0ee4d4.pdf

Allowing Dublin as the biggest city and Belfast as the next, Cork should be approximately 1/4 the size of Dublin. There’s some room for growth there but not to the levels I’ve seen suggested here and elsewhere. Any such growth is likely to still be accompanied by growth in Dublin. The idea of counterbalancing and distributing economic growth through government initiatives is basically a waste. We need to deal with the reality that is Dublin as a large population needing densification and infrastructure investment.


The government does not create jobs, businesses do.

There has been lots of support for outside Dublin. Trust me the IDA are seriously into their regional mandate. They sweat buckets trying to get FDI employers to locate outside the Pale, Cork and Galway and they just cannot get them to do so, for pretty obvious reasons.

FYI: the share of population in Dublin and its orbit hasn’t really changed much in the last 40 years. The big change was in the first 50 years of independence.


They shouldn’t really be trying to encourage employers to invest outside Cork and Galway, since that’s a hiding to nothing. Investing in Cork and Galway is another matter.

BTW, For me, Cork has the largest concentration of jobs in Ireland, followed by Dublin, Galway and Limerick (in that order). I’m mostly in Dublin for personal reasons, rather than professional ones. Still, at least Ireland isn’t quite as badly unbalanced for a ratio of jobs to population as the UK, where Oxford, Manchester and Birmingham are a rather distant second to Cambridge and London would be a dead loss, where the only jobs are in the public sector. :laughing:

Still, the main problem is that there are only three sources of work for me in Ireland, one of FDI MNCs (mostly outside Dublin and particularly located around Cork), universities, or small, mostly university-based start-ups. As an immigrant, the main thing that stands out about Ireland is how small and shallow its indigenous industrial base is.

If the IDA want jobs outside Dublin, they should make the NSO tour more. I’m serious. :smiley:


For many industries, even in the U.K., nearly all of the high-skilled jobs are in London. And sometimes Oxford and/or Cambridge, but those have giant universities that we don’t really have an equivalent of. Unfortunately, I suspect that the clustering effect we see with many industries (particularly those where the main asset is people, rather than factories or whatever) is natural to an extent. For the ultimate example, see the US IT industry; the bulk of the high-skilled jobs are in certain parts of California, and that’s for a country about the size of Europe.

The government could try to encourage location of industry outside Dublin, but in most cases I can’t see why the companies would want to go along with this. but this isn’t just an Irish problem; look how well the “northern powerhouse” is going.

As for telecommuting, I think it’s one of these things which sounds more important on paper than it really is. It’s only workable for certain industries, and even then only for certain people. I could do my job via telecommuting, in theory, but I wouldn’t take a job where I had to telecommute; I’d go crazy.



Tourism has managed to keep the lights on in quite a few places too.

In case anyone missed John Moran’s rant about one off housing a couple of weeks ago:

thejournal.ie/john-moran-pro … 0-Jul2017/


There are always people who want us all to live in a city or suburbs. They wont be happy until we are all in apartments getting the bus everywhere.


Yeah, they are called 80%/90% of the population in all first world countries. And they are there because they have a much greater opportunity to better themselves, to a better standards of living, and a better quality of life than if they had stayed in some rural backwater. Thats they way it been since the first cities arose 7 thousand years ago. People move to cities because living in the country is a never-ending pointless grind. A least cities gives a possibility of improving your lot.

Irelands problems all stem from the fact that it has been chronically under urbanized over the last century. It still has the lowest urbanization rate in Western Europe. By a good twenty percent. This was not helped by the ROI jettisoning the largest city in the island and it intensely urbanized hinterland and turning itself into a rural rump state run by the peasantry and their school teacher children. The reason why the ROI has Dublin and nothing else is because it has no indigenous industries or companies of note. Compare with the distribution of cities in Finland or Denmark makes this very obvious. Especially Finland. It has a large number of moderate size cities because it has a fairly deep industrial base of indigenous companies that are based in these cities. Back in the 19’th century Ireland had a very successful large industrial city, the largest in the island, with a wide hinterland of towns with successful companies, fully integrated into most successful industrial region in the world, the Clyde Valley. Belfast.

So the ROI economy as such currently is mostly large multinationals using Ireland as a tax or regulatory safehaven. Little else. Knock another 10% of the recent GNI numbers are you are starting to get ballpark for the real economy. Almost 50% of which is government spending. The senior and specialist positions in the MNC offices based in Dublin are overwhelmingly foreign nationals who will only live in a large city close to an international airport. Talk to people in Enterprise Ireland if you want to hear the response of MNC’s to any suggestion they be based outside Dublin. Immediate no and all EI will see for its efforts is some small brass plate office. Quite simply for the vast majority of MNC’s its Dublin or nothing. So Dublin it is.

As for the all the other dysfunctions regarding property costs etc in the Dublin area. That is completely separate, and totally self inflicted. Want cheap property, get rid of all planning / zoning laws and related regulations. The current laws have nothing to do with urban planning, just artificial price support. And graft. Property, or rather the land beneath it, would quickly fall in price by two/thirds. Its not property thats expensive. It is the land the property is built on. Want cheaper property, remove all the very deliberate distortions to the price of land. Both urban and rural.

But given the politics of Ireland that will never ever happen. For a start can you imagine the Irish electorate agreeing to anything that would lower the price of their property. The Irish electorate have proved time and time again that they would rather suffer catastrophic long term economic contraction which would force most of their children to emigrate rather than do any constructive reforms of the economy that might affect the value of their property. Scratch the average Irish urban house owner and you will find exactly the same mindset regarding property as in The Field. Just crabs in a bucket.

So when the MNC’s do bugger off, which they will sooner or later, the Irish electorate would rather the whole economy slowly decay to rack and ruin rather than bite the bullet with any meaningful reforms. Like use it or lose it laws over land. Breaking up urban ring land banks. And removing all non safety planning laws. For a start the inner Dublin core is littered with big dead green spaces in housing estate which see marginal or no use. Build on it. All of it. Apart from the 5% which actually does see some use. But the next Ice Age will roll over Dublin before the average Dublin tenants association would agree to build over “their” green area that is never used and that they wont even allow any of the kids to kick a football on.

So best to recognize the game for what it is. And the rules as they are played. In Ireland. And will be played for the foreseeable future. Which means working out the angle that works best for you. And how best to get one over on everyone else. Because that is what all the other players are doing.


There’s also the option of small towns and the almost completely abandoned in the Irish psyche a village.
Traditional rural living in a way that can both allow for space for families and the geographically efficient provision of necessary government services.


Now I think of it, is the Irish rural model of just building random large houses in the middle of nowhere more or less unique? My impression is that English rural life, say, is way more village-oriented (which wouldn’t be for me, but I’d take it any day over the oversized house miles from anything…)

How did this even come about? It makes very little sense unless you have a farm IMO.