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fingers crossed Donal Skehan says Irish rental market is 'absolute carnage' after moving back home

'We had planned to rent and then buy, but we’ve lived in four different houses now within the space of two years'

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Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver

Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver

Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver, joined Vhi to launch the new Vhi 360 Health Centre in Carrickmines. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver, joined Vhi to launch the new Vhi 360 Health Centre in Carrickmines. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver, joined Vhi to launch the new Vhi 360 Health Centre in Carrickmines. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver, joined Vhi to launch the new Vhi 360 Health Centre in Carrickmines. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver, joined Vhi to launch the new Vhi 360 Health Centre in Carrickmines. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver, joined Vhi to launch the new Vhi 360 Health Centre in Carrickmines. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver, joined Vhi to launch the new Vhi 360 Health Centre in Carrickmines. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver, joined Vhi to launch the new Vhi 360 Health Centre in Carrickmines. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver, joined Vhi to launch the new Vhi 360 Health Centre in Carrickmines. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver, joined Vhi to launch the new Vhi 360 Health Centre in Carrickmines. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver, joined Vhi to launch the new Vhi 360 Health Centre in Carrickmines. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver, joined Vhi to launch the new Vhi 360 Health Centre in Carrickmines. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver, joined Vhi to launch the new Vhi 360 Health Centre in Carrickmines. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver, joined Vhi to launch the new Vhi 360 Health Centre in Carrickmines. Photograph: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

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Vhi ambassadors Donal and Sofie Skehan, along with their sons Noah and Oliver

When Donal Skehan (35) and his young family first returned home to Ireland in April 2020, the plan was to finally settle in his native Dublin and put down some roots.

But after coming home in the throes of the pandemic, he speaks of the “worst luck” when it comes to negotiating the tricky rental market and finding a home with his wife Sofie and their sons Noah (4) and Oscar (2).

“We had planned to rent and then buy, but we’ve lived in four different houses now within the space of two years,” he said.

"It’s just the way the market is.

"Thankfully, we’re in a spot now that’s a little more secure. But it’s been absolute carnage with a lot of moves.

“It's a hard time to buy and we’re just keeping our fingers crossed that the right thing comes up.

"After a series of fairly unsettling experiences with the rental market, we now have a spot that we’re comfortable in until we find the right place.

“It finally feels like we have a little breather.

“And we’ve managed to be close to my family, so there’s positives in there,” he added.

Mr Skehan, who has written nine recipe books and will front his new RTÉ show next week, is now renting a house in Howth. And after spending four years in LA, he is looking ahead to the next chapter.

“It does feel like a good time to settle,” he said.

"I’ve always had that wanderlust and I think the reason we haven’t until now, I think there’s always been something else to reach towards. The kids ground you and put everything into perspective.”

He has been constantly working since he came back home and it’s “absolutely brilliant”, but it has taken its toll.

“We’ve hit the ground running and for that reason as well, I’m glad to be closer to home,” he added.

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“I was finding it really difficult – and Sofie will say it as well, it was putting such a strain on us and me to juggle all of that.

"So to be back home and be back on the team is key to it.” 

This week saw him named as the new Vhi ambassador as he helped the health insurer launch its new 360 health centre in Dublin’s Carrickmines. 

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