Thursday 25 October 2007

Celtic Tiger lies slain in the grounds of Lisa Stansfield's stately Dalkey pile

Limerick today: the window cleaners are barking instructions at each other in Polish. Real estate agents meet their clients in the Hilton hotel before bringing them to see prospective one bedroom apartments in blocks A, B and F. Lithuanian call centre agents are talking rurally isolated emailers through the process of setting up their computers for dial-up. The wifi techocrats are in love with the products they sell. And they need to sell. It makes them feel alive.

Hey, I don't know if anyone has actually absorbed this information, but the bell has tolled for the Celtic Tiger. Word got out a few days ago. Some minister or other made the announcement. No women in gold bikinis advertised THAT one on Grafton st. Now, I know it's been splashed all over the headlines of the newspapers, but as long as you can get an Amaretto truffle with your to-go cappucino served to you by an Estonian waitress working for the second highest minimum wage in Europe, I guess you mightn't really notice. Keep making those trips to Brown Thomas, and ripping the heart out of Georgian Limerick in order to replace it with more gigantic 24 hour shopping malls. But the news is in: the good times are over, folks. And you'll probably still have to commute for two and a half hours every day, even when it all turns grey. You just probably won't be able to rely on cashing in on your real estate investment (what used to be called home) at the end of the day.

I had an inkling about it when I heard that Lisa Stansfield had put her house on the market a couple of weeks ago. That day was it for the Celtic Tiger, as far as I'm concerned. Lisa Stansfield is a minor British popstar from the eighties who came to Dublin and bought a big house in Dalkey some time in the early nineties. I don't know how much she paid for it, but now her house is on the market for 7 million euros. And if she gets that, it may well be one of the last big killings of the Celtic Tiger years. It'll take care of her retirement, anyway. She was probably holding out for a while, enjoying the amazing views over Dublin bay, knowing that one day she was going to have to cash in her chips before time ran out, and the market evaporated.

Well, guess what, folks?

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