‘There’s 8 Of Us, All In Our 70s’: We Visit Ireland’s Oldest House-Share
HOUSE-sharing is no longer just for young professionals living away from home for the first time; it’s becoming the go-to option for people of all ages, including a 4-bedroom set-up on the outskirts of Waterford where 8 long-time friends are living together in what neighbours describe as ‘The Last Of The Summer Wine meets The Young Ones’.
“It’s 1600 euro for a one bedroom house, and I don’t know if you know this but the State pension doesn’t really cover that,” said Martin Carolan, 78, who lives with 7 other lads with a total combined age of 618.
“We all came to the realisation that it was this, the grave, or an old folks home, and they ain’t free either. So me, Mossie, Frank, Jim, Timothy, Seamus, Seamus Beag, and Fintan all pooled together to cover the 2,400 a month for this place. That includes bins but doesn’t include Wi-Fi, which doesn’t annoy us because none of us know what WiFi is anyway”.
While 300-a-month each may seem like a bargain, Mr. Carolan admits that cramming 8 ‘miserable old fuckers’ into a 4-bedroom house is not without it’s challenges, with difficulties ranging from deciding whose turn it is to cook, to being forced at an elderly age to share rented accommodation because there was no other option.
“Well now some of the lads like to test the carbon monoxide alarms with the farts they do, but by and large we’re happy,” smiled Martin, showing us around the four bedrooms, each with a set of bunk beds in them.
“The sleeping arrangements were decided based on who had the hips done. If you had the replacements, you were considered well able to get up to a top bunk. Looking around, I dare say we’d squeeze in another few boyos. Lord knows there’ll be plenty of applicants soon when renters hit pension age and can’t afford to live in the places they’ve called home for decades. But then if you add in two more lads, it’s just two more lads that will steal your piles ointment and then deny everything. Yes I’m looking at you, Seamus Beag, I fuckin’ know it was you”.
Meanwhile landlords around the country have reacted to the house-warming story, and have pledged to do more to ensure that younger people learn that if 8 aul lads can share a house without reporting anything to the Residential Tenancies Board, then they can too.