Death of a Tiger: The collapse of Irish property dreams

  • Caitriona Coen National University of Ireland Maynooth
  • Mark Maguire National University of Ireland Maynooth
Keywords: property market, dreams, Celtic Tiger, Ireland


The spectre of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger stalks the landscape, and the social costs of the spectacular financial and property-market collapse continue to mount. This article discusses the results of twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork carried out during 2010 and 2011 in a large-scale housing development in West Dublin. The research aims to understand the social and cultural consequences of the severe economic recession and collapse of the property market in the everyday lives of people who bought a “dream home”. The research is set in one of the showcase property developments during the period of the so-called Celtic Tiger. Today, residents try to live their lives and maintain a sense of home in a disjointed spatial and institutional world. This research draws together a number of scholarly currents, from the work of Jean and John Comaroff to the insights of Niklas Luhmann and Slavoj Žižek, in order to explore the economic collapse in Ireland both theoretically and empirically. This article gestures to some of the more quotidian and nuanced qualities of contemporary capitalism and governance.