>DUBLIN, Ireland — The ancient Ireland of the tourist guidebooks has its share of haunted castles and spooky old ruins. But in the modern Ireland of the post-boom years you are more likely to find ghost housing estates and zombie hotels.
In Ireland, with a population of four and a half million, 300,000 homes are lying empty, according to a recent academic survey. Many of them are in clusters of almost-finished houses, built in fields that were rezoned for development in the madness of the housing boom. While bankrupt developers have left the housing developments unfinished, banks are keeping empty grand hotels open to prevent them from becoming, well, ghost hotels.