I couldn’t wait to get out of this hellhole
A LABYRINTH of dimly lit corridors leading to a seemingly endless number of bedrooms, all with as many people as possible crammed in – the house in Crumlin, Dublin was somewhere you’d end up when there was nowhere else to go.
Through a front door and a sharp turn, I saw part of the downstairs of one house but judging from the locked door leading up the stairs, it was obvious even more people lived upstairs.
The building used to be a shop. Hard black flooring with the paint chipped off, more suited to a storeroom floor than a home, lay in every room. Not that there was much space to see the floor. A living room, strewn with the belongings of the dozens of people who lived there, seemed almost palatial compared to the bedrooms.
After squeezing two bunk beds, a fridge and a single cupboard into a room that I could barely stand in with my arms outstretched, there wasn’t much floor space left.
Most of that was taken up with the clothes and suitcases of the four people living in the tiny room.
Four towels drying in the same small room, four bodies sweating and the heat of a fridge produced a unique musty smell that’s hard to forget. Lit by a single bulb swinging on a wire from the ceiling, the network of corridors felt more like a bleak makeshift structure in the woods or an abandoned prison rather than somewhere people would call home.
Part of me felt like the extension might fall down, if I closed a door too hard or leaned on the wrong wall.
I was only visiting and I couldn’t wait to get out.
I’d never want to go back in there, let alone spend a night in the hell these poor people were forking out €250 for the privilege of existing in.
I say exist, because in conditions like that, you couldn’t really call it living.
BLeAK: Hard black flooring is in every room