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Home free: Could a house swap save your summer (and sanity)?

Foreign holidays are off the table and most rental cottages are either booked up or too expensive. Could home-swapping solve your staycation woes?

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On the move: Pearl and Mike Heneghan and their daughter Maya regularly swap their Sligo home.
Photo: James Connolly

On the move: Pearl and Mike Heneghan and their daughter Maya regularly swap their Sligo home. Photo: James Connolly

On the move: Pearl and Mike Heneghan and their daughter Maya regularly swap their Sligo home. Photo: James Connolly

One of the inevitable side effects of lockdown was that people became heartily sick of their homes and their neighbourhoods. While continuing to dream of far-flung destinations, we joyfully embraced any easing of restrictions that got us outside of our immediate locale.

When the ability to roam countrywide became possible yesterday, this seemed positively exotic. There still remains a lot of uncertainty about foreign travel and in terms of taking a break within Ireland, there are concerns about the cost and availability, as well as the impact that necessary safety measures will have on the entire experience. Nonetheless, the desire for any change of scenery is strong, which is why the option of a domestic home exchange is now being seen as an increasingly attractive option. Even if you're fed up with your own abode, there's a good chance that someone elsewhere in Ireland will find it the perfect antidote to their cabin fever, and vice versa.

While the idea of house swapping is more usually associated with doing a foreign exchange, Covid-19 means this is no longer the case. Marie Murphy, the director of HomeLink Home Exchange Ireland, says the company has very recently added a new section to its site to allow members who are actively seeking a domestic exchange to contact each other, and adds that swappers don't seem to mind where they go.