Prompted by a colleague, I’ve been browsing the CSO Census report, The Roof over our Heads.  It is full of information from the Census 2011 on households and housing in Ireland.  I’ll probably blog about some of the other material at some point, but I thought it might be useful to point to some of their data on housing vacancy, a familiar topic on this blog.

In the report, the CSO produce an interesting map of all vacant residential address points in the country classified as vacant houses, vacant apartments and holiday homes.  There is little chance of identifying individual properties from this map as it is a scale of 1: 1 million, but by plotting the individual units as opposed to shading in areas we can get a sense of the scale of the issue (which in numeric terms is: 168,427 vacant houses; 61,629 vacant apartments; 59,395 holiday homes; out of total stock of 1,994,845 residential units).

Map of vacant properties in Ireland

Map of vacant properties in Ireland

There is clearly a patterns to holiday homes, concentrating on the coast, as well as the upper and lower Shannon.  Vacant apartments are mainly confined to large urban areas.  And whilst, there is much media talk at present concerning a shortage of family homes in Dublin, the data reveal there is no shortage of apartments.  In fact, there are 16,321 empty apartments in Dublin City, let alone the other Dublin local authorities.  As for vacant houses, they are everywhere.  The few blank spots are mountains or remote areas.

The CSO report also provide some data on towns with the highest levels of vacancy, both including and excluding holiday homes.  The table below lists the seven towns with the highest levels of vacancy excluding holiday homes.  In the case of Tulsk and Ballaghaderreen, two places I have some familiarity with, there is a strong correlation with the presence of unfinished estates.  However, as we have discussed elsewhere, unfinished estates are just one element of vacancy given that there are only 16,881 vacant properties on such estates, meaning there is a high degree of background vacancy in many locations beyond unfinished estates (see our AIRO VacantIreland interactive mapping tool that let’s you examine vacancy at Small Area level and individual unfinished estates).

most vacant towns

Rob Kitchin

Yesterday the CSO released a new tranche of the Census 2011 results. The new tables relate to the population of towns and rural areas and population by area.  We’ve taken the data an visualized it on AIRO as interactive maps and graphs:

Map of population and population of towns (see map below)

Components of Population Change 2011 (Birth,Deaths & Migration)

Urban/Rural Population Split at County Level – Census 2011

Irish Towns categorised by Population, Area and Change (see image below)

With respect to towns, 62 per cent of the total population now live in urban areas.  Nearly all towns grew between 2006-2011, with some growing very strongly (10 by over 50% – Saggart, Courtown Harbour, Newcastle, Carrigtwohill, Ballymahon, Rathnew, Kinsealy-Drinan, Annacotty, Ballyjamesduff, Sixmilebridge).  Eight towns shrunk in size, with Templemore decreasing by 13.1%.


Justin Gleeson and Rob Kitchin