The decline of the village — 23 Comments

  1. Blow-ins come from other parts of Ireland as well as from Britain and countries in continental Europe. Our children have a better chance than we to get full acceptance, so increase and multiply is the timeless rule. Some blow-ins increase in such numbers that they can set up new clubs and activity groups – jogging, child minding circles, bird watching groups – that the old residents can feel free to join, so the blending-in process is done in reverse. In some communities there are residents associations or community councils. In new estates the residents can form their own associations and get involved in gardai-supported Community Alerts. In Kilcullen in Kildare the Parish Council helps newcomers fit in (if they are churchgoers). There is a monthly community magazine. There is a local news blog which keeps everybody informed about what is happening. Community networking and involvement in activity groups is the key to integration.

  2. I completely agree, Gerry.

    Maybe I phrased it badly. I don’t resent the newcomers, as such. A place has to grow, and it would be more than selfish to want to keep the place to ourselves.

    Unfortunately though, the ‘new villagers’ tend to be of the affluenza variety, where, if you are not a member of their golf club or tennis club then they don’t want to know. There is no way the established residents could afford to join the clubs, even if they wanted to.

    This is a new closed circle of nouveau riche who frankly are not interested in integration.

    p.s. by ‘blow-in’ I mean anyone who isn’t fifth-generation local. Technically I’m a blow in as I only arrived 40 years ago

  3. The problem with the affluenza variety of ‘blow-in’ is they very quickly forget what it was about the village that influenced them to move in. They seem determined to kill whe village atmosphere with all their modern manners, or lack of same, and large gas guzzling vehicles etc.

  4. That is it in a nutshell, Grannymar. As always, you put it better than I can. Thank you.

  5. Oh, I am so frightfully sorry! You see, I’m outside the set so I wouldn’t know. I just hear them bellowing these names into their mobiles. Maybe they were saying they’d been there last year?

  6. You’re village atmosphere is safe until Macdonalds comes to town then it’s all downhill from there . . .

  7. Says the man drinking COFFEE al fresco all continental like? What – tea too good for you? Obviously the yanks are getting to you! 😉

  8. I take your points about the affluenzi blow-ins who overawe the less affluent locals with all their talk about package holidays in Thailand, and whizz around narrow streets and country lanes in their BMWs etc. There are some villages (now grown into small suburbanising towns) further away from Leinster where class attitudes are not so sharp – where we’re all just one generation away from small and medium-sized peasant proprietorship. Possibilities for meetings halfway between incomers (polite word for blow-ins) and what the French call ‘les indigenes’ (an gnaphobal) seem best in those places. But Kilcullen in Kildare, having become a dormitory town for Dublin jobholders these past thirty years, is a model that can be followed.

  9. If McDonalds comes to our village, it will be their most fire-bombed premises. I’ll see to it personally.

    Deborah – I drink tea at come and coffee in the village [don’t ask me why]. The only reason I drink it al fresco is because a) our dear government and their nanny-laws and b) the shop doesn’t have indoor seating. And I like sitting in the sunshine, anyway.

    Gerry – There seems to be little chance of integration. I’m quite willing to be friendly with anyone, but they’re not. If you are not ‘one of the set’ then they don’t want to know.

    Incidentally, how come you are writing from China?

  10. Because that’s where I am. Not on a package holiday, but work. I didn’t realize that national flags instantly attached themselves to people’s comments on your site.

    Let me assure you that I have lots of experience of living in Irish villages. Sometimes they can get a bit gossipy and too quiet, so it is useful to break away for a few years now and again. And become a blow-out! But it is nice to return again to the old ground. Nil aon tintean mar do thintean fein.

  11. Bloody Hell!! I knew the Dublin commuter belt had extended somewhat, but that’s insane…

    I like quiet and gossipy. I usually start most of the gossip myself. I lived in the suburbs long enough. They are noisy and very lonely places.

  12. I totally agree with what you are saying Grandad, I’ve personally lived in a really tiny village in North Yorkshire for the last 20 years, whilst the village has always being growing since I was there there have being a flurry of new developments in the last year or so, houses so rediculously big and way over priced that there would be no chance anyone who earned a wage from the local area could afford, we even sold our old house (a tiny little old 2 bedroom cottage, not even enough room for a bath and probably the smallest house in the village) for a crazy £190,000 a couple of years back.

    Its not that the people who move into these places aren’t nice people, its just that it would be so much nicer to keep people from the local area in the village rather than turning the place into a commuter village.

  13. Welcome, Pete.
    I first moved here forty years ago. [The house cost £1000!!]. As newcomers, we respected the village and the locals. We integrated into local life and were made welcome.
    Now the village is within commuting distance of Dublin [where isn’t!] and is extremely popular. My own place is now valued well in excess of a million. What chance do the locals have?
    And, as I say, the newcomers make no attempt to integrate. They have their own wealthy lifestyles which don’t fit into a rural scene.
    Unfortunately, the little rural village is gradually being suburbanised.

  14. Yep, having said that when we moved into our village we we’re considered “the posh lot” were from out of town (this is all going off experiance from my what my parents have told me, I was only 1 year old when we moved in!) however there was something that gave us a bit of a gateway into the local community and that was that our tiny village had a primary school. Chucking all of the kids together (not literally) really forced the parents to at least communicate with each other, in the end we we’ve become more accepted into the community.

    Now that those kids have grown up (as I have) they go away to university or whatever then those parents stay in the same area to retire, new people move in and it seems like the same sort of thing starts all over again.

  15. Oh and thanks for the welcome and keep up the good work, I really love this blog 🙂

  16. We never had the school business. I had left school when we moved here, so that didn’t come into it. I moved back [to the same house] after my daughter [K8] had finished her education. She’s moving back into the area shortly with her children, so maybe then….?

    Thanks for the kind words on the blog! I don’t know what you see in it! It’s mental..

  17. Thats really my point, I moved from my nice isolated village out to inner city Middlesbrough, walking around and hearing the rubbish that these kids are spouting, having to play on filthy and dangerous streets and trying to emulate the behaviour of their parents and peers makes me so unbelievably grateful for my countryside based upbringing I was fortunate enough to receive. If I were ever to try and raise a sprog I would never even attempt to do it in a city, its just not the right place for kids to develop.

    Oh and it might be mental but it is a very entertaining read 🙂

  18. It is awful how the influx of affluenza types can distort property prices and deprive those who’ve spent their childhood in villages of the opportunity to marry and settle down in their own area, assuming that they have steady incomes (manual labour or farming or other low paid jobs). If everything is left to the market i.e. let builders with money buy up green fields around the village perimeter, then there is going to be a huge rise in property prices as well as chaos for young families who don’t have enough recreational amenities and school places for growing children. Free market philosophy is highly antisocial in this case. Governments and local authorities must step in and provide social housing – and planned nature, recreational and educational amenities. It ain’t happening in too many places. Social timebomb.

  19. That is precisely what has happened here, Gerry.
    Of course land prices have soared, so the landowners are selling to the builders. The councils don’t seem to give a damn, and just lash out the planning permissions without any thought for amenities, or the character of the area.

    But then, I suppose that is happening all over the country.

  20. Yes it is, and farmers realize that they can make more money from selling farm land than from farming. This underlines another malaise in parts of the Irish countryside: crime doesn’t pay and neither does farming. (Not true everywhere, I know, because of farm size and in England lots of tenanted farmland belonging to dukes who specialise in gracious living.)

    When teenage village children have inadequate recreational facilities, and a shortage of adults prepared to volunteer time to them, expect vandalism of the old village pump and late night blackguardism in the surrounds of pensioners’ dwellings.

  21. Unfortunately the old pump is long gone.

    What saddens me are the subtle changes. I miss the sound of cattle lowing in the fields. We now have a couple of street lights, so the night sky isn’t as crystal clear as it used to be. There is the odd talk of naming the lanes [which, granted makes it easier for the postman, but he knows us all anyway, but I think it is another sign of suburbia]. They are talking of removing the old banks and ditches and putting in footpaths, which again is safer, but I’d miss the sound of the stream running alongside the road.

    I know I’m probably thought of as a Luddite, and I know life must progress. I’m just sad. That’s all.

Hosted by Curratech Blog Hosting