Leah Driscoll is willing to pay a lot of money to live somewhere half decent. That’s proving too much of an ask for our nation’s capital
I’m looking for ‘The One’, and I have been looking for a while. I’m finally ready to settle down, just like all my friends have managed to do, but it’s proving more difficult than I expected.
I have all of the apps. I’ve trawled through countless profiles on a nightly basis, looking at potential matches with only pictures and a few sentences to go by.
I’ve organised meet-ups, sometimes disappointed by what I see, sometimes falling hard only to face rejection. It’s hope, it’s heartache, it’s desire, it’s desperation: it’s the search for accommodation in Dublin city.
My house hunt is less of a tale of romance, more a tragedy that Hamlet himself would be proud of. I am a month and about a dozen viewings deep into my search, and while I no longer need Google Maps to make my way around south Dublin, I am as close to finding a home in the big smoke as Hamlet is to a happily ever after.
After living in a few different cities, both larger and smaller than Dublin, I have my search criteria firmly set. I’m looking to live in areas that are popular among young professionals like myself. I want a spacious room in a decently kept house with a few tolerable housemates. I want all of that for a price that would get you a penthouse apartment in any other county.
In the beginning, I thought my request to find all of this near to the city centre was challenging, but achievable.
However if the name of Ireland’s top letting site is anything to go by, I’m being completely daft.
Imagine a triangle — this represents the goals of pretty much any apartment search. At one point we have price, at another we have location and at the third point we have quality. I am looking to reside within this triangle, where these three points all work in my favour. However space within this shape’s boundaries is very limited.
Lettings within this sacred triangle do exist in Dublin, and you might even get a chance to view them, but so do at least 30 other people. Don’t forget that they are whittled down from the 150 who applied for the letting in the past 24 hours. Given the stiff competition, finding somewhere to live in Dublin is not a matter of choosing, it’s being chosen.
I have often queued alongside other candidates to meet potential housemates for a “casual chat” — if you had given us a bell we honestly could have called it speed dating.
Then comes the “chat”— the five minutes you have to convince someone that they want to share an abode with you. How do I subtly convey that I am interesting and fun? Did I mention that I am tidy but not a clean freak? Easy-going but not careless? Sociable but not a party animal? Yes, so did everyone else. When you make a pretty average first impression, it’s difficult to be chosen out of a list of thirty other average people. This gets pretty discouraging after countless viewings, endless small-talk and not much luck.
If I had to face this amount of rejection in love, I would have given up and started my collection of stray cats by now.
While I’m sure my poor first impressions are somewhat to blame, there is a much larger problem at hand when hundreds of people are vying for the same, very standard letting. As Brexit looms over London and our economy rises from the ashes, more and more companies are setting up offices in Dublin.
The problem is that no one has thought about where their employees are supposed to live. It’s like someone decided to throw a party and accidentally invited too many people. This soiree is getting way out of hand, but despite numerous complaints, the authorities aren’t coming to sort it out.
Instead, developers are building hotels on every patch of grass available and apartments so expensive that they are practically irrelevant to any normal person.
We need only look at the newly built student accommodation starting at €900 a month to see evidence of this.
To live in Dublin city you need to be either lucky or wealthy, and those of us who are neither are cast out to an ever-sprawling set of suburbs.
They say that millennials won’t grow up, and with more adults living in their parents’ homes than ever before, perhaps it’s true. But if the capital wants to be home to twenty-somethings finally fleeing the nest, then Dublin is going to have to grow up too, quite literally.
We have nothing near the infrastructure needed to manage a booming city population, but the solution hovers right above us.
Dublin needs to start building up to cater for demand — but building height restrictions are stunting the city’s growth. Current height limits in place are completely inadequate to meet standards of any other European city. Much like the millennial stereotype, Dublin is the city that refuses to grow up.
Growing up or out, whatever the solution, not much hope is on the horizon for those of us house hunting at the moment.
As I continue my search for ‘The One’, I can only hope I won’t be driven from daft to demented.
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