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14th Mar 2024

‘It feels embarrassing’ – The reality of living in your childhood home in Ireland

Kat O'Connor

So many of us are forced to spend adulthood in our childhood home

The ongoing housing crisis is forcing so many adults to spend their twenties in their family homes. The dream of ever owning, or even renting, our own home feels completely out of reach.

At 29, I’ve completely given up on the idea of being a homeowner, unless I magically win the lotto in the very near future.

A Eurostat study recently revealed that 68% of people in their late twenties are still living at home so why do so many of us feel guilty about it?

I feel almost embarrassed to tell people that I still live at home even though it is extremely common.

I’m incredibly lucky that I get to stay at home with my parents rather than paying €700 for a tiny box room in a house share, but living at home comes with many flaws too.

One of the biggest struggles is the lack of independence you feel, even if you’re in your late twenties. You may be a full-grown adult, but you can’t help but feel like a teenager when you’re returning home from a night out to the bedroom that was once decorated in posters of McFly.

We need our own space, a place to call home, but it’s something so many of us can only dream of

So many of my friends are in the same boat, but what can be done when the Government doesn’t care enough to fix the housing crisis?

We try and save as much money as we possibly can but our pay cheques are stretched thin as we live through the cost of living crisis.

Too many Irish women are living their twenties in a way they never expected or wanted to. We hoped to have our own beautiful apartments in the city, but those dreams became further out of reach.

Speaking about the impact the housing crisis has had on her life, Dublin woman Aisling said living at home has affected her mental wellbeing.

“Living at home definitely affects my mental health. There’s no independence or boundaries, if there’s an issue or someone is in a bad mood the entire house has to deal with the fall out.

“There’s no space to call your own, no privacy if you’re having a hard time. And living with your parents who don’t understand mental health issues is very hard because you don’t get any support from them.”

“No matter what initiatives the government put into place, it doesn’t seem to be enough”

Aisling explained that living with your parents can make you feel like more of a teenager than a grown adult.

“The emotional impact. I’m grateful to be able to live in my parent’s house but it’s very hard to live with them when you’re almost 30 and they are still getting in your business and treating you like a child.”

As difficult as it is, Aisling says she doesn’t feel judged because so many people are in the same boat.

“I don’t feel judged because I know so many people in their 20s, 30s & 40s who live at home but I feel sad. Anyone who doesn’t want to live at home has to emigrate or make €60,000+ a year to be able to afford to move out and I think that’s shameful because it doesn’t give young people any shot of a future here. It creates a lot of unhappiness on top of the pressure we all feel to move out and that’s not fair on us.”

“It’s the embarrassing aspect of it that really gets to me”

30-year-old Niamh McDonnell echoed Aisling’s concerns about the housing crisis but said living at home hasn’t affected her mentally.

“I’m still 30 and living at home but I’m hoping there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t feel hopeful about the housing situation in Ireland. The only hope I have is moving down the country, but I’m sacrificing career opportunities in Dublin if I did do that.

“The hardest part of living at home is telling people, that’s the worst part for me. It’s the embarrassing aspect of it that really gets to me. I know it isn’t actually embarrassing but it feels like it when someone asks where you live and you tell them it’s your childhood home.

“It’s impossible for someone at our age to buy and sometimes I feel judged because of my age, but the Government is doing so little to help.

“Living at home is more reasonable for me because I’m paying a more affordable kind of rent and it gives me the chance to still live my life instead of spending all my income on renting.”

No grown woman should feel embarrassed about where she lives, but the Government is putting us in impossible situations when houses that once sold for £40,000 in the 1990s are now being put on the market for €500k. Will we ever be able to move out of our childhood homes or is our address remaining the same forever?