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Homeless In Dublin: One Man’s Real-Life Story

Homeless in Dublin and IrelandHave you ever been homeless?

I was in the summer of 2006, and it wasn’t a great situation to be in, in fact, it was the loneliest time of my life.

I was actually put out of the family home and I sought help from the outreach services which are run by the Dublin Simon Community, they put me in touch with the Homeless Services.

As expected, I was nervous, but when I phoned the old number for the Homeless services, which is now being run by the Dublin City Council (the new number is 1800-704-704, and you can contact them from 10am to 1am, seven days a week), my nerves were beginning to settle. I shouldn’t have worried as we in Dublin and Ireland have great services relating to this issue, and I got great help from people who worked in this area either as a paid employee or being a volunteer.

I phoned them as I had no other options open to me at the time. A loving cousin who I really loved had put me up in her family’s home for two weeks prior where my Uncle and Aunt lived, who have since sadly passed on, but unfortunately, I could no longer stay.

I phoned the homeless help line (1800 -704 -704). I was informed I would be picked up at 10pm that night between the LUAS line and Huston Station. For the death of me I couldn’t figure out where I was meant to be meeting them! I agreed then left at 7pm so I would give myself some time to find the pick-up point.

I got a bus to Ballyfermot, then jumped another bus to Huston Station, I arrived at about 7.45pm and to my dismay I found the spot within one minute. They had literally meant a piece of ground that separates the LUAS line from the station! So I had to wait around for over two hours. I was then asking people who where standing beside me if they were waiting for the bus too. A lot of them hadn’t a clue what I was talking about and some taught I was talking about the bus link to the airport, which in all fairness with my fairly big shoulder bag, made me look like I was on me way to the airport to go away, wishful thinking.

At last, the hour arrived and, in all fairness, it was on time. It was a smallish minibus I was expecting a double decker or a bus, a coach, etc, etc. The driver must also have taught I was a tourist because he kept asking my name. He let me on the bus, he waited for a few minutes then drove the very short distance to JD’s emergency accommodation, it was a pub at one stage. I was not really that amused to find out that I was waiting a little over 2 hours, to be driven across the road but you had to go through the phone line to get in to J.D’s as you cant just knock on the door and Bobs your uncle.

I was a bit shocked when I was shown to the room, it was like an open plan room, if you like, loads of beds and no privacy, I went straight to the bed at the very back as no one had to pass my bed to go any where so the chances of getting robbed when I was asleep were cut in half.

I was told prior to being made homeless, if you have anything worth talking it would be stolen there are stories about people loosing their trainers while they slept. There is one famous story, a person who was a “down and out” if you like was dressed in old tatty clothes. He arrived on the Night Bus and the lads where slagging him off, one more than the rest. This bully was sporting a brand new pair of trainers. Next morning the “down and out” man who arrived the night before started to complain to staff of chest pains, an ambulance was called and he was whisked away to the hospital. Once there, he came around and ran out of the emergency room dressed in old tatty clothes and sporting a new pair of trainers, the chap who was slagging him the night before was now wearing the man’s old shoes!

I didn’t really like the emergency shelter as its called, there was one porter on and his main concern was to watch people going to the toilet, not because he had to, it was the ones, who where active in their addictions, if you were constipated or you had the runs you would have probably been put out and barred.

Because I was so tired I flaked out, before I gave the porter any cash I had on me for the safe after he assured me he would be still on duty the next morning. Because I have a sweet tooth, some of the lads were slagging me the next morning as during the night, I ate chocolate bars till I feel asleep. I had a cup of tea and passed the offer of cereals, and was out the door by 9am. I only had to run across the road to get to the LUAS up to St James hospital, then a 78A to Clondalkin.

The night after my first night in JD’s (emergency shelter) I got a phone call from them and they asked me to meet some of their team outside Burger King on Grafton Street, at 7.30pm that summer evening. I was delighted that I got into JD’s as it was handy and really close to the LUAS line. I had it all mapped out in my head, I would sleep there, get an alarm call every morning as I wasn’t a morning person backed then, cup of tea handed to me and out the door and straight up to Clondalkin to my course.

That evening I met the team and they brought me to the emergency shelter at 27 Harcourt Street, which was to become my home for the next 6 months.
I want to keep on going to the Simon hostel, as it took at least 15mins just to get to Aston quay where the 78A bus terminus was.

I actually wanted to go back but I was booked in to Harcourt Street and I got two nights in one of the single rooms, after that my course went out the window not because I got lazy it was just impossible to sleep! Especially at the run up to the weekends from Wednesday night to Sunday night you had night clubs all over Harcourt and surrounding streets blaring out tunes on the busy drunken streets below. I really was confused how these night club owners were given their licences maybe they were in the golden handshake. Also, we were beside the green line for the LUAS and it constantly rang its bell. It used to stop at Saturday at 1 am, in the morning and be back at 6 am, if you didn’t fall asleep before that you where in for a rough night.

The shelter was a gift in other ways for a rate of €42.00 per week, which included meals that were prepared by a lovely lady who was a chef. We also had access to a nurse who had an office in the back of the house in the garden. That lady was there 5 days a week, a gem she was, we also had a doctor dropping by once a week.

For people who were active with drugs, there was a needle exchange which was excellent this helped people from catching blood related diseases such as Hep C or the H.I.V. They also had what was called a wet room, residents who drank alcohol could drink in the shelter which worked in a lot of peoples favours. The person drinking was safe, this also cut out people hanging around, and it worked out for local business too, they also had a dry room for people who didn’t drink. But the wet room had one downer, all residents who drank were always arguing over the remote control and this could turn very nasty, I always sat in the dry room it was always quiet and calm.

When I first arrived at the shelter I kept getting calls from another service belonging to the Dublin Simon Community called “Resettlement”. I couldn’t understand at first why they kept phoning me as I had some where to sleep it wasn’t till I actually turned up for an interview that I realised that the services they were offering were different from the shelter but they were ran by the same organisation.

When I first went into the shelter I was appointed a key worker, she was also very nice and she had a lovely name that I would never forget.

I actually loved my time staying at the shelter, despite not been able to sleep from Wednesday onwards, my course that I had in Clondalkin went out the window as I could never get up Thursday and Friday mornings.

It was like living in a hotel, my laundry was done by a lovely lady called Brenda, and my food was fit for a king thanks to a gem called Pauline. I had to share a room with two other guys, no problem there, the only snag was the stairs! When I started my six months, I was all the way up on the top but in fairness, they moved me on to the first floor and that suited me to the ground!

Everything was done for me I just had to get up, and show up, if it wasn’t for a personal tragedy I would have asked for an extension who knows I could have married the shelter, and stayed there for the rest of my life.

€42.00 covered all of this and the kitchen was open for at least 18 hrs a day, if you didn’t like what was on the menu they would cater and give you anything, it was actually cheaper for me to stay homeless, I used to pay up €50.00 a week to my dad now I only started to get paid in the last few months when all was well at home then I would buy my own food, and pay my own bills, that was when Mr. Ahern was in charge I certainly wouldn’t afford it today, now that Mr. Cowen is in charge.

I linked into the resettlement team that was located up in Capel Street here in Dublin.
I got a decent chap called Adrian and with his help and guidance I got to where I am today.

When I was living in the shelter I was getting on great with my dad, Boxer, as he was known, to his large circle of loving family, and decent pure divinely friends.
But sadly one morning my dad suffered heart failure and passed away, my sister in law Tess, had just left him and was doing an errand for him, and when she returned she found him.

After Boxers’ passing, I couldn’t enjoy my living at the shelter any more, and with the kind help of the Simons team I was located to another hostel called, Maple house on the North Circular Road, that is how I met Mary Hayes the lady who I interviewed for this issue.

I needed some space to be alone and grieve, and Maple House just happened to be the place I was looking for, not only could I grieve but I didn’t have to share any rooms with any people, living in Maple house was like having your own bed sit.

I was given a new key worker at Maple, another decent chap called Mark, who was working with Adrian for me. Just after Christmas on my birthday I signed a 12 month contract for a large studio bed sit, located here in the Dublin 8 area on a street called Pim Street, just off Marlborough lane flat complexes.

After moving in I was still receiving visits from the Dublin’s Simon resettlement team I also had another chap, on board called Tommy, another decent guy I was very lucky. I met the best of the best on my journey. Tommy was known as my resettlement officer and with his help I finally got my own cottage in the Dublin 8 area. A gift in so many ways, very close to Meath Street, the LUAS, Cork Street, St James Hospital Coombe hospital, Crumlin shopping centre, James Street, the plus signs just go on, and on. I could do my weekly shopping either at Dunne’s or Tesco’s in Crumlin then get collected for a mere €5.00 from any driver from S.C.R Cabs also based in the Dublin 8 area.

So basically I was on the homeless journey for only 9 months, which is quite quick considering been homeless, and walking in off the streets, it can and has been done I am living proof of that. We have a big homeless problem in Ireland but we have great services to match it, and we have great people on the ground, there is loads of cheap eats in and around the Dublin areas, and some places do not have any fees so you do not have to go hungry in this dirty old town.

The Views of this Your Say! article do not necessarily represent the views of the Fountain Resource Group. If you agree with this contributor, or perhaps you disagree and would like to write a response, feel free to email us at to have your say!

Note from editor: This was originally published as part of our March 2011 ‘Fountain News’ digital newsletter, which we are re-publishing here. We have re-published it under the current date, because we think it remains relevant, plus it has been offline for a considerable amount of time.

Fountain News DigitalThis article was originally published in:
Fountain News Digital – March 2011 (Issue 3)

We are re-publishing all articles from our past newsletter, Fountain News Digital, and you can view all completed newsletters here. There were nine issues published in total between 2010 and 2012.

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6 Responses

  1. Carol says:

    I would like to tell you my story.

  2. Admin says:

    We would love to hear from you, you can email us at

  3. Carol says:

    I have sent you first part of my story.

  4. Admin says:

    can I ask which email you sent it to?

  5. Carol says:

    This site. Is it lost ?

  6. Admin says:

    Hi Carol

    I can’t seem to find it, can you send it to For the attention of Eoghan

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