When we began the process of looking at how and where we’d like to live, we started as close to home as we could, and that turned out to be ‘The Village‘ at Cloughjordan. Hooray, we thought, a cutting edge eco-village at least if not exactly on our doorstep, on the same island.
On paper at least, Cloughjordan sounds great, and there are some great technologies being used in the buildings there.
Sadly the same can’t be said for the majority of the buildings, which appear to take 80’s housing estates as their inspiration. Take the building above. It may well have a tiny U value and minimise energy consumption but truly it has to be one of the most soulless pieces of architecture I have ever come across.

My particular favourite is the Soviet Era horror that is the hostel. This three storey horror may be low impact in terms of it’s energy use, but visually, it has all the softness and appeal of being bludgeoned to death with a concrete block.
There are lovely low impact, energy efficient buildings in Ireland, so I know it is possible, and although some eco-village houses may be a little rustic for all tastes, they are at least  designed with natural forms in mind, rather than the gulag.
It just seems such a shame that something that sounded so inspirational turns out to be such a disappointment it’s execution. Eco friendly design should be a process that results in spaces that are a joy to look at, and not simply a means to an energy saving end.