Dublin’s property market is something of a shambles at the moment. Rents for cramped and poorly renovated studios can clock in at almost €1,000 per month and buyers are being priced out of the market due to rises in demand. Students are being housed in hotels out by UCD and the government is looking into prefabs to host homeless families. Just a cursory look on Daft.ie would make you want to move right back in with your parents rather than fork out half your salary for somewhere you can fry your breakfast while sitting on your bed.
Niall Harbison, the entrepreneur and oft-criticised Dublin city blogger was interviewed in June by the Irish Times and spoke about moving out of his cushy Ranelagh house. Harbo claimed he was looking to move into a ‘cool, loft-style apartment’ somewhere in Dublin before sheepishly admitting ‘they’re really hard to find’. So where are all the cool houses and apartments? With this month’s Open House festival providing access to some of the most interesting civic and commercial buildings in the city, we went on a mission to get inside the walls of people’s actual living quarters.
We travelled from the just over the Wicklow border, beyond the city’s southern sprawl to the heart of Temple Bar looking for places that weren’t just IKEA cookie cutter clones, and by inviting ourselves into their homes, soon found that we were getting a pretty deep insight into their lives as well.