Document Type

Book Chapter


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Cultural and economic geography

Publication Details

pp. 45 – 59, in, Hall, C. M. and Muller, D. K., Tourism Mobility and Second Homes. Between Elite Landscapes and Common Ground, Channel View Publications, Clevedon, UK.


The literature on second home ownership is by now quite extensive. While it may be also quite disparate, as Kaltenborn (1998) has claimed, identifiable areas within the general second home literature have begun to emerge. This paper focuses on one such area, that which explores the meaning of second home ownership. It re-visits one of the basic questions in the literature by asking why do people have second homes? This question has preoccupied several researchers over the last 20 years (e.g. Clout 1972, Jaakson 1986, Kaltenborn 1998, Chaplin 1999) and the ensuing literature has produced reasonably consistent findings by way of explaining the phenomenon. A number of explanatory motives have been put forward, most notably the desire to escape from routine, from home life, and ultimately from modernity itself. The second home is viewed as something of a release valve, providing a temporary escape that enables people to return to their routine lives having been revitalized and restored by their second home experiences. This chapter does not refute this basic theory but it argues that there is a need for further refinement of the processes and meanings at issues. In particular there is much scope for considering how the meaning that people attach to different places informs the decision to become involved in second home ownership. There seems little doubt that a desire to escape is a prevalent motive, but in terms of the places selected for escaping to, the process may not be as random as the literature has generally implied to date. The growing literature on what Clifford (1997:2) has termed ‘dwelling-in-travelling’ creates a useful context within which to explore how acquiring a second home creates a means of re-discovering and re-connecting with places that hold special meanings in peoples lives, thereby serving to counter the sense of place-alienation and dislocation associated with globalisation. This chapter furthers its case using empirical material from a case study of second home owners in south-east Ireland.