Fintan O’Toole: No faux ruins for us. We mass manufactured the real thing

Why is the taxpayer solely responsible for the failures of private builders and manufacturers?

The Jealous Wall at Belvedere House: In the 18th century, [...] it was the height of fashion to construct buildings that looked like the skeletal vestiges of long-lost edifices. Photograph: Jane Powers

The Jealous Wall at Belvedere House: In the 18th century, [...] it was the height of fashion to construct buildings that looked like the skeletal vestiges of long-lost edifices. Photograph: Jane Powers

In the 18th century, when the Protestant Ascendancy was in its pomp, the landlord class spent fortunes building fake ruins. It was the height of fashion to construct buildings that looked like the skeletal vestiges of long-lost edifices.

Some of them, like the vast Jealous Wall on the grounds of Belvedere House outside Mullingar, are quite spectacular. It must have been good, too, to know that the peasants, who lived out of sight in actual hovels, were paying for them through their rents.

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