Dara McGowan

Dara McGowan, from Foxford, Co Mayo, is starting a master’s at UCD this September in sustainable building design and performance, having completed his undergraduate degree in woodwork and tech graphics teaching at UL. Dara describes his househunt in Dublin as “definitely stressful, especially for my parents”.

A lot of accommodation lists Dara was given and websites he was recommended were “nearly all digs or room shares”, but this didn’t appeal to him – a major inconvenience with digs is that students can’t stay up at weekends.

Dara found Daft.ie to be the best option: “There were a lot of ads there and I emailed about 50 or 60 people.” His sister emailed 20-30 people on his behalf. The McGowan siblings sent over 80 emails between them and received a grand total of three replies, “so it wasn’t ideal”.

But luckily, Dara got the first of those three viewings – in Templeogue: “I’m happy with the situation I’m in and with the people who live there. I was delighted to have got it to be honest.”

While Dara had heard securing accommodation in Dublin was difficult, he says it was “definitely harder than I expected, and the price was a lot more than I had expected when compared with Limerick”.

Dara’s rent in Dublin is €520 a month “which is good compared with others and the house is spacious enough”.

He adds: “The room is a single room but it’s big. There’s a desk in there for me to study, so it suits me.”

By any standards, this is a good rate for rent in Dublin at the moment. Dara has a car, which is good because Templeogue is not a suitable location to live in for UCD. “It’s an hour and a half on two/three different types of routes – you’d have to drive really.”

John Morris

John Morris from Batterstown in Co Meath is going to UL to study the Bachelor of Engineering Technology with Education. He describes his accommodation hunt as “terrible”.

The window to apply for on-campus accommodation at UL opens in February but many students don’t know where they’re going to college at that stage. Despite this, John decided he wanted to book accommodation in UL anyway, but when he tried to apply the site crashed. So he kept trying.

“I never got an email to say I was accepted. Another student in second year told me the site would reopen for first years when we get the CAO offers, but it didn’t.”

John’s Leaving Cert results were such that he was almost certain he would get a place on his course, so mid-August he travelled to Limerick with his mam, Maeve, to sort out accommodation. They visited the accommodation office on campus and were told there was no on-campus accommodation left. The were given an accommodation list but it was all digs. Forty phone calls later, John and his mam had secured one viewing but by the time they arrived it was gone. John says a lot of digs were taken by second, third and fourth years.

“I’m currently on about four waiting lists. I have no chance of getting off them. They’re going through cancellations at the moment but I’m at the bottom of the list.”

John contacted us since he was interviewed to let us know he got campus accommodation at UL, thanks to being a waiting list. CL