It is an eerie phenomenon, but not unprecedented.
When I was growing up in county Mayo during the 1980s and early 90s I was surrounded by empty houses. Emigration had devastated the region; the young had fled to Dublin, London or Boston, leaving the old to gradually die out.
There was one entire village near my home which had been totally abandoned in the 1960s. By the time I came along, it was a haven of ivy and moss, with sycamores growing out of collapsed roofs and roads leading nowhere, dense with ferns. Today it still is abandoned, sheltered from the outside world by a thick conifer plantation.
It was full of small surprises. I noticed a deliberate gap running under one old road. This is what it looks like from inside.
One of the more recently abandoned houses had plaster on the walls and the rotting remains of a door.
Tellingly, there was a rusting plough dumped on the ground outside.
The ruined architecture rose from the ground like something organic, swaddled in moss.
Stone lintels held up walls with no roof.
Last spring I went there when the bluebells were blooming. The village, lost to humans, was swamped in bluebells.
Sometimes wartorn regions with abandoned No Man's Lands become unexpected wildlife sanctuaries. What is bad for human population growth is often good for other species.
So perhaps these ghost estates will go the same way as those violent buffer zones, and of my neighbouring ghost village. Perhaps children in the future will play among the ivy-heavy ruins of Ireland's recent indulgences.