'I was homeless when I came to Ireland', reveals First Dates Ireland dater Dominika
A young Polish woman who found herself without somewhere to live when she moved to Ireland with her family in 2006 is looking for love on First Dates Ireland tonight.
Dominika Kowalska is now 24 and has graduated from IADT in Dun Laoghaire, but was forced to sleep in the airport with her mum and two brothers when they moved to Dublin when she was 12.
"We arrived in Ireland at the end of May. Mum had a friend who was meant to help us," she told the Herald.
However, the friend didn't show up.
"The first night here we slept in the airport and then we bought a family bus ticket and were just walking around the city centre," said Dominika.
"We got to a building - a citizen information centre - and my brother had a bit of English."
They secured a room in a hostel on Gardiner Street, where they lived for several weeks.
"Mum had €1,000 in her pocket and a full bag of hair supplies - she was a hairdresser so was hoping she could do hair here," said Dominika.
"She paid €500 for one week to live in the room there.
"Finally, her friend got in touch and we moved to a flat in Crumlin with the help of a few friends.
"It was hard but it made us stronger.
"Eventually we moved to bigger places and then we moved to the country. We picked up four dogs on the way, so we had to find a space big enough."
Dominika has a daughter, Rennea (3), and said she was looking for someone who would understand the situation and take things seriously.
She will be matched with Paul from Galway tonight.
"I knew what I wasn't looking for. I have a daughter so I wanted a guy who would be serious," she said.
She said her mum also got behind her for the show.
"We still live together and I wouldn't have been able to graduate without her," said Dominika.
First Dates Ireland is on RTE Two tonight at 9.30pm