DUBLIN — As an emblem of the modern Irish condition, Frank Buckley is almost too apt. Dead broke, he lives in a house made of money.
Euros here, euros there. Euros in the fireplace. Euros on the floor, on the chairs, in the windows. Worthless euros, taken out of circulation and shredded by Ireland’s Central Bank, forming the interior walls of an apartment that Mr. Buckley does not own in a building left vacant by the country’s economic ruin.
Mr. Buckley, 50, calls the apartment — built from thousands of bricks of shredded, decommissioned cash(each brick contains, roughly, what used to be 50,000 euros) — the Billion Euro House. He reckons that about 1.4 billion euros actually went into it, but the joke, of course, is that it is worth simultaneously so much and so little.
“Everything is centered on the euro, but euros are only pieces of paper,” he said. “It’s what people do with the euros, the value we put on them, that changes their meaning.” […]