By Viviana Lletget (Visiting Student, Study Abroad Blogger)
When I first arrived in Ireland I did not know exactly where I was going to live. The process for looking for student housing in Dublin is a grueling process that takes up a lot of your time. It can be a scary thing to wonder if you will find proper housing in a city so far away from home. The good thing is that Dublin is saturated with other international students who either go to Trinity, UCD, or have come to Ireland to study English, and so student housing (in other words temporary housing) is nothing new for landlords. So, finding accommodation is definitely possible no matter how long you are staying, but finding a good fit is the harder battle with so many factors to consider like: mode of transportation to school, safety, and scenery. Finding a place to live in Dublin caused my anxiety to increase, but I want to let you know to not worry because you will find something. You would think that finding a place before moving to Dublin is a smarter choice than to just arrive to the city and stay at a hostel until you find accommodation, but you do not know exactly where you are moving to until you see it, until you experience it. So, though you may go through some panicky moments when trying to get established in a new city, do not fret. I recommend doing the hostel thing until you pick a good spot that is right for you.
I was living in Dublin 5, and it was becoming not such a great fit after all. Due to some unfortunate circumstances I had to move out of the room I was renting. Because I needed to find a new place right away, I contacted my study abroad coordinator who in turn began communicating with Trinity College. After hearing my case, Trinity offered me a room at Trinity Hall, which is situated in Dublin 6, the district of Rathmines. Yes, I got lucky to have been offered a room in a place that is always in high demand, but I do not think it was just luck. I think that the Trinity staff in the study abroad department were diligent about helping me find a solution to my problem, since one of their students was in need of help. I am especially grateful to Caroline Enright, the Trinity Study Abroad Manager. She was absolutely helpful, and showed a great deal that she cared about me and how I was going to get out of my current situation. Within twenty four hours, because of the well constructed network of communication between Trinity staff members, I had found a new home in Dublin. I was lucky to find a new place quickly, but I think Trinity students are lucky to have talented, reliable, and responsible faculty and administrative staff to be there as resources for when we need them.
Trinity Hall has been absolutely great. Everyone that you meet in the Halls are pretty cool in that they are friendly, willing to talk to you, and are respectful, for example, turning down music if it is bothering you. Trinity Hall has a convenient store that sells stuff like bread, eggs, and butter if you are in a pinch. Trinity Hall is near the Luas tram as well as several buses that take you straight into City Centre and Trinity. If I had to walk to school, it would only be about a forty minute walk, but the walk is not even a boring one. Beginning in Rathmines, the beautiful Georgian architecture takes your breath away; it is quite an aesthetically pleasing part of the city, so no wonder why it is known to be one of the most poshest of areas to live. There are tons and tons of cute stores to go shopping where you can find just about anything you would need. The restaurants are incredible with options from fish and chips to Thai food. There are also bakeries that are increasing their options for gluten-free baked goods, which makes Rathmines even more hip, since healthier options for foods are becoming more popular. There are also a bunch of vintage clothing shops, which makes it great to shop for new clothes on a student budget. There are multiple grocery store options like: Tesco Express, Tesco, Dunnes, Aldi, Lidl, and about three health food stores that offer organic foods.
One of my favorite parts about living in Rathmines is that it feels safe. It is probably one of the most safest areas in Dublin, so it is worth paying a little extra to move into this area. I like to go running at night, and in Rathmines you can totally do this. My second favorite part are the pubs. The pubs in Rathmines are amazing. There exists more traditional pubs that for instance on Friday and Saturday nights you can find members of the community just singing ballads to keep the Irish tradition alive at Grace’s, to more trendy and hipster pubs like Blackbird where you can play card or board games, and listen to rap, hip-hop, and classic rock music. My third favorite part about living in Rathmines is its proximity to college, yet it is far enough away from the City Centre so it is less crowded and gives off a more urban, yet traditional feel of Dublin residential living. If you are looking for an area that will have student housing, Rathmines is a wonderful place to start looking.