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29-01-2019, 12:54   #1
Boards.ie: Niamh
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Now ye're talking - to an Urban Explorer

Our next guest this week is an urban explorer. An urban explorer goes to abandoned buildings, usually quite old but not always, and takes photos of what is left. They have included abandoned hospitals, private homes, industrial buildings, cinemas, theatres, etc. Andy posts his photos over on his website, Behind Closed Doors. They really are something special so do take a look.

From his website:
Quote:
Finding hidden secrets…
Why are the doors closed if there’s nothing behind them worth seeing? If there’s a way in I’ll take it, take a look around and take some pictures. It’s amazing what you can find behind closed doors.
All the photos on this website are taken at locations that are generally considered to be off limits to the public. Forgotten and abandoned places often hold stunning architecture, left to decay. The art of visiting forgotten places is called Urban Exploring, or Urbex for short.

So, you break into places?
No, absolutely not! I will never cause any damage in order to gain access to a property, that would be illegal. I will only ever use existing access points. If there is no open access point available I will simply move on.
Andy would like to answer your questions about urban exploring and his photography.
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29-01-2019, 12:59   #2
xieann
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Have you explored any abandoned Railway Bridges / Viaducts? Do you always heed "KEEP AWAY" signs?

I explored the 'Red Iron' railway bridge near Waterford city a good few years ago.
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29-01-2019, 13:06   #3
baby and crumble
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Great thread, can't wait to read some more!

I've done some social research into institutionalization in Ireland, and whenever I'd visit old asylums that were still functioning as care homes etc I'd get quite weird feelings - you kinda knew some bad stuff went down. Do you ever feel like that in the abandoned places? Ever have anything spooky or unexplained happen when you're in there?

Do you go on your own, or with friends?

What's the legalities of this kind of hobby - are these buildings classed as private property?
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29-01-2019, 13:22   #4
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Have you explored any abandoned Railway Bridges / Viaducts? Do you always heed "KEEP AWAY" signs?

I explored the 'Red Iron' railway bridge near Waterford city a good few years ago.
I focus more on building interiors rather than civil engineered structures, so I’ve not really looked at any railway bridges, etc.

“Keep Away” signs are like in invitation to me, I always wonder what is beyond that sign, and quite often go have a look.
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29-01-2019, 13:22   #5
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Great thread, can't wait to read some more!

I've done some social research into institutionalization in Ireland, and whenever I'd visit old asylums that were still functioning as care homes etc I'd get quite weird feelings - you kinda knew some bad stuff went down. Do you ever feel like that in the abandoned places? Ever have anything spooky or unexplained happen when you're in there?

Do you go on your own, or with friends?

What's the legalities of this kind of hobby - are these buildings classed as private property?
Great questions there.

I don’t really believe in ghosts or anything like that, and I can’t say I’ve experienced anything paranormal or spooky. However I often read up about the history of a location before visiting, and then find evidence of the barbaric or inhumane treatment I’d read about that took place in such places. Reading about these things is one thing, but seeing what’s left can certainly spark some weird feelings.

I usually go with a trusted friend or small group, although I will visit places on my own on a rare occasion. It can get quite intense on your own in abandoned places sometimes!

The buildings are classed as private property, even if disused or abandoned. This means it’s trespass which is classed as a civil offence, not criminal, or in other words you can’t get arrested just for being there. If I was to refuse to leave when asked to, had caused any kind of damage, or had stolen something then I’d be facing criminal charges, so we are careful to avoid any of those things.
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29-01-2019, 13:28   #6
 
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Have you ever found

- money
- a dead body
- a meth lab / grow house / criminal enterprise
- anything valuable

If you did find any of the above, what did / would you do?

Do you ever take souvenirs?

Do you make multiple visits to the same site or is it a case of one and done?

Whats the most jaw dropping place you've discovered?

Ever had any near death experiences while exploring?
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29-01-2019, 13:54   #7
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Have you ever disturbed junkies living in one of these places?
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29-01-2019, 14:04   #8
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Have you ever been arrested for trespass?
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29-01-2019, 14:05   #9
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Originally Posted by I'm an Urban Explorer, AMA View Post
The buildings are classed as private property, even if disused or abandoned. This means it’s trespass which is classed as a civil offence, not criminal, or in other words you can’t get arrested just for being there. If I was to refuse to leave when asked to, had caused any kind of damage, or had stolen something then I’d be facing criminal charges, so we are careful to avoid any of those things.
Is this still the case if there are clear signs up about it being private property and trespassers will be prosecuted? As opposed to an abandoned building that has no signs outside.
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29-01-2019, 14:12   #10
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Would you break a window or door to gain entry? Or do you only enter if it's possible to leave/ enter without causing damage. Sometimes poke around old abandoned rural houses myself, quite poignant at times.

How do you assess potential rotting floorboards, decaying staircases?
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29-01-2019, 14:26   #11
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... However I often read up about the history of a location before visiting, and then find evidence of the barbaric or inhumane treatment I’d read about that took place in such places. ...

Wow... can you elaborate on this a bit? What have you found?
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29-01-2019, 14:31   #12
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Have you ever found

- money
- a dead body
- a meth lab / grow house / criminal enterprise
- anything valuable

If you did find any of the above, what did / would you do?

Do you ever take souvenirs?

Do you make multiple visits to the same site or is it a case of one and done?

Whats the most jaw dropping place you've discovered?

Ever had any near death experiences while exploring?
Money – Yes. But not much.

Dead Body – No!

Meth lab / grow house – We have found evidence of a grow in one place, but even that had been abandoned by the time we got there!

Anything valuable – Yes, quite a lot. Some of the places we visit would be considered disused, rather than abandoned I guess. Country houses are a good example of this, they are often no longer lived in, but oil paintings, antique furniture and ornaments often still remain.

We left all of the above have been in place. I refrain from posting such places on the Internet until I know the valuable items are no longer there or have been secured, as I don’t want to advertise such items to thieves.

Yep, if I’m honest I have taken the odd souvenir, but never anything of value or something that would be missed.

As much as possible I try to stick to one visit per location, however I want to ensure the reports on my website are as thorough as possible, so sometimes it takes more than one visit if I miss something, or get rumbled during a visit.

The most jaw dropping…. That’s a hard one to answer as places are stunning in different ways. I love industrial locations, and there’s one place in particular that stands out in my memories. It’s called Diesel Centrale, it’s a vintage diesel-fired power station in Austria, and is extremely well preserved.

I’ve not had any near death experiences.
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29-01-2019, 14:32   #13
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Have you ever disturbed junkies living in one of these places?
Yeah, it happens from time to time, especially in old cinemas/theatres. It’s never been an issue, but is unnerving to say the least!
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29-01-2019, 14:33   #14
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Have you ever been arrested for trespass?
Yep, in Germany. In the UK trespass is not a criminal offence, so the police can only ask us to leave. If we were to refuse it would become aggravated trespass, for which they could arrest us for. We have encountered the police a few times but we always comply with their requests and have never been arrested in the UK. In Germany things are a bit different, and we received fines for being found in an abandoned hospital.
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29-01-2019, 14:34   #15
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Is this still the case if there are clear signs up about it being private property and trespassers will be prosecuted? As opposed to an abandoned building that has no signs outside.
It makes absolutely no difference. As trespass is not a criminal offence, you cannot be prosecuted for it, regardless of what the sign says. Land owners can take the matter to court privately to recover damages if they wish, but they will need to prove that the person trespassing has caused them to incur expenses or loss of earnings.
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