'Every time he rings a place, it's already gone, it's stressful' - Younger brother 'is paying €2k more' than Ciara
Ciara Leacy (21) said she was lucky enough to have "very supportive parents" because part-time work would not be enough to pay for her student accommodation.
As she prepares to study for her Masters in Common Law at UCD, Ciara, from Collon, Co Louth, is sharing a house with friends in Goatstown, but for the first three years in college she lived on campus.
She explained: "It's always been really difficult to get a place there - it was okay the first year but later on it became more difficult. I just got very lucky."
Ciara has a brother entering college this year and he was told a few days ago that he had managed to secure randomly allocated accommodation on campus - but was startled to see how much the price had risen.
"From what I can see, it's about €2,000 more expensive for the year than it was for me," she said.
"You pay per term and it is quite a significant lump sum. It works out differently, depending on where you're staying - but it was about €570 a month for me. It's expensive but I thought it was worth it because I didn't have to pay for transport to get around."
Living off campus is significantly cheaper - but Ciara says she isn't a fan of the half-hour walk to college. The house has been rented out a couple of years and "it shows that", she added.
On campus, the accommodation was well-maintained and if something happened, it was easier to get it fixed than when a private landlord is involved.
However, having a curfew was "annoying", said Ciara, and there was a "feeling" that supervisors could come in at any point if you had friends over after 10pm.
"You can't have people over after 10 unless they're signed in," explained Ciara.
She would not have managed without her parents financially and most of her friends were in the same boat, she said.
Having managed to keep on the same house since last year, Ciara is grateful that she has her accommodation sorted out ahead of the looming academic term because a lot of her friends are now finding it significantly more difficult to get a place than they did last year.
One of them is even thinking of commuting every day from Dundalk for the first few months because he has "almost given up looking".
"Every time he rings a place on the website, it's already gone," she said, adding: "It's very stressful.
"This is the first year I've been really conscious of the significant difficulty students are having in finding somewhere to live. Maybe I was sheltered by living on campus but it's more noticeable this year."