You're paying for the site really. It's next to impossible to get planning permission to build anything new in rural ireland thesedays so it's quite a viable option to buy something like that keep the shell and turn it into something cool and modern while retaining the original character. You may not get permission to demolish it. It might have to be restored. Quite unlikely to disappear.
Many of those old houses were abandoned during the 19th century (great famine population went from circa 7 million to 2.3 million!) you get complete ghost towns in the west of Ireland where everyone either emmigrated or died.
The more recent (20th century) houses would be abandoned farm houses where people either left the countryside many years ago and farms were consolidated into larger holdings or where people left during the economic crisis in the 1920s-1950s and just never returned and leased out their farms to ajoining farmers on a long term basis.
These derelect properties are suddenly extremely valuable. So they're hitting the market.
The house above looks like it was prob. abandoned in the 1930s/40s.
A lot of these properties would never have had electricity as they were abandoned way before rural electrification.
Getting connected up in a rural area isn't a huge deal here though. There are various state and county council schemes to share the cost. You pay part of it, the ESB absorbs part of it and the state absorbs the rest.
If you're with in sight of a 10,20 or 38kV distribution line you can be hooked up very quickly, just a pole top transformer and a run of cable.
In other circumstances where you're a little further away a LV line at 230/400V would link you into your pole top xformer where ever the nearest line was.
Or, worst case scenario, they have to run a medium voltage spur line out to near your proprty. This is where it gets pricy!
Phone service could be provided with a physical connection to a copper cable if you're within reach of a main road where those cable bundles run or if you're too far away a 2-way digital microwave link ties you into the local ericsson AXE or (mostly) alcatel E10-(B3) switch.. weird system that either gives you a POTS(PSTN) or ISDN line. Analogue microwave systems were used in the 70s and 80s in places.
Ireland has a very low density population (the lowest in the EU). It's shown by the ratio of switches to people. 3.7 million people are served by over 1500 digital exchanges! (depending on how you classify an "exchange") Making the average local exchange quite small.
For net access: you'd be stuck with dial up or ISDN .. Wireless broadband in rural areas is starting to roll out bit by bit. A new state-aided package to encourage rural development is starting too. DSL would be a bit too far away!
TV: RTE, Network 2, TV3 and TG4 via good ole UHF/VHF (PAL I 625 line with nicam stereo).
or Digital TV broadcast at around 2.3 Ghz(aprox 100 channels including UK terrestrial).
Or of course Sky Digital (Digital Satellite) which in Ireland carries RTE, Network 2, TV3, TG4 and rte digital and radio services.. but only BBC NI 1+2.. no ITV or C4. along with about 400 other channels.
[This message has been edited by djk (edited 11-16-2003).]