Ron, Dick and I all live in the country. We like it here. It is nice and peaceful. You can see the stars at night, and listen to the owls hooting. During the day, we keep tally on the badgers, foxes and squirrels. The air is fresh and quiet.
We all live in roughly the same area, which is all back roads and lanes. When I first moved here over 40 years ago, it was an event when a car went past.
Unfortunately, it is within commuting distance of Dublin. But everywhere in Ireland now seems to be within commuting distance of Dublin. So this means that the area is very popular for people to live in.
Now people have to live somewhere, and they are as welcome here as anywhere else.
But I have a major complaint.
This is the countryside. If you want to live here, then please respect that. Stop trying to turn it into suburbia.
Dick lives in a lovely old cottage. It’s around 200 years old. A couple bought the house next door to him [another old cottage] and they are trying to turn it into something that wouldn’t be out of place in Docklands. They want to build a two story extension with a high blank wall along his boundary, that would plunge his garden into darkness from midday on. He is livid. Apparently the couple want about five bedrooms, all en-suite, with games rooms and saunas and God knows what else. If they want that, then why buy in the country? There are plenty of houses like that in suburbia.
Ron had wide open fields around his house. They are starting to build housing estates on them. He is depressed. Where the cattle grazed, there will now be radios blaring in the summer, and burgler alarms blaring for the rest of the year.
I’m not too bad at the moment, but they are threatening to build a housing estate the other side of the road. And we now have street lights and footpaths. And I haven’t seen a fox or a badger in a long time.
I’m not against progress. But let the people who want suburbia live in the suburbs, and let the people who want to live in the country respect it for what it is. Countryside.
If you want to build here, build something that is in keeping with the area. If you want a housing estate, then live nearer the city. If you want a five bedroom house then build it where there are other five bedroom houses. You will feel more at home there.
After all, the people who live in the city sometimes want to go for a drive in the country. At this rate they are going to end up in Connemara before they find it.
So we are a dying breed; Ron, Dick and I. Along with the badgers, the foxes, the deer, the corncrakes, the bats, the squirrels, the field mice and everything else that likes a bit of space.