Development with spectacular views of Ireland now a grim eyesore
It's one of the most spectacular sites in the west of Ireland. On the edge of the bustling town of Loughrea, it's just a stone's throw from the motorway that links Galway with Dublin.
The view to the rear of the development is of green fields, stretching away into the distance to the Hills of Clare and the unrivalled Burren countryside.
But the 40 homes at Cottage Hill are empty, desolate, vandalised and a grim eyesore.
Not a single soul has moved into the estate since it was released to the public in January, 2007.
Today it is overgrown, easily accessed by youngsters with nothing better to do; and without a sign of security, other than poorly erected, makeshift gates at the entrance.
Developed by Galway businessmen Paul Connolly and John Curley and built by Honeyglen Homes, Cottage Hill consists of four-bed detached, four-bed semi and two- and three-bed townhouses.
The development was described at the time as "well crafted with specific attention to detail ... each house encapsulates modern living with high standards of construction".
No one from Honeyglen Homes was available yesterday at the Galway city phone number displayed on the hoarding outside the estate. The builders no longer operated from that address, a woman taking the call said.
Retired garda John Rooney, who lives a few doors away from the apparently abandoned estate, said: "Nobody lives there, never has. It has been like that for the last four years or so."
Mr Rooney added: "The windows are all broken at the back and young lads come across the fields and fire stones at them. People around here could never understand how they even got planning permission for such a site. It's the highest point here for miles. We're 300 feet above sea level and there is the most fantastic view all the way across to the Burren. But it's just awful what has been left."
Loughrea auctioneer Dermot Staunton, of DNG Dermot Staunton, confirmed he was selling agent for the same developers at another development in Loughrea -- Cois Furain. The latter estate is well finished and has close to 100pc occupancy.