"I was very lucky. I was so grateful to get that home."

April 20, 2023

Former CHI Member Claire speaks to us about her new home

My name is Claire, I’m a piano teacher. My partner and I met in 2020 and now we have a 9-month-oldson Diarmuid. I was living in a CHI home for over seven years and myself and my partner have just bought a home of our own. He had his own apartment not very far away from me when we met.

It’s the perfect time to move. I got pregnant again in November 2022, so we’re a growing family now. We were outbid the whole time when we were first house hunting. We were very lucky with the house we bought. The market slowed down a small bit and our offer was accepted.

I work from home as a piano teacher, I use my mother’s house at the minute because the piano is there and she can look after Diarmuid while I’m giving lessons, but the plan is the start teaching from our new place. I did a music degree in the Cork School of Music and have been teaching piano for 20 years now. I did have a few exceptional students over the years, but not all of them go on to pursue music in college. It is very rare people keep it on into college. Some people want it as a hobby and others take it very seriously. You meet all types of students when you’re teaching.

In my early 20s, I was in a long-term relationship and living in my grandad’s old house. The rent was very low, I was renting from my aunt and uncle, and they weren’t looking to make a lot of money from it. Eventually, the relationship ended, and I moved home when I was 30. I hadn’t lived at home in over eight years, so I found it difficult to readjust after having so much independence. With renting, you can’t save or anything, so I went home.  My mum has a little granny flat but it’s very small. It has a tiny bedroom and a tiny kitchen, and I lived there for three years. My job didn’t pay great money and it was tough financially–  it was very hard, as it still is, with house prices, to save to buy. So I applied for housing, and I didn’t expect a home, but within a year or less I got the apartment in Downview with CHI. I was very lucky. I was so grateful to get that home. It was the best thing that happened to me because I was just out of a relationship and I had also lost my dad at that time. I really needed a place of my own.  

I was the first person to move into the apartment in Downview. It was always warm, and the neighbours were all really lovely– I still miss it – it was a lovely place and whoever gets it now will be very lucky. I had a ground floor apartment with a little back garden and my own car space right outside the door. It came to me at the right time. I had a kitchen-dining-living room which was all open-plan.I was very near Wilton shopping centre, which was so handy. I worked in the Bons hospital in Cork at that time, doing administrative work, and was teaching piano too.

My partner and I are really looking forward to life in our new home. With the second baby on the way and Diarmuid is crawling now, so it’s a great time to have more space. My mother is only up the road, so we have her support when it comes to childcare and so on.  Over the years, I can make this new home my own, hopefully we will put our own mark on it. It’s quite an old house, so we are starting from scratch and will be working on it over the years doing bits and pieces. It’s so nice to have our own place, especially the way things are in the housing market. Things have changed so much. When I look at my parents, they were able to afford a house with one parent working and the other one looking after the family at home. Nowadays both parents work, and people still can’t afford a place to live.

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