Killian Woods, 24: ‘I'll go out and vote for the marriage equality referendum'

‘I can’t imagine ever having enough money to own a house’

Killian Woods, 24, took a year off to travel the world after completing his studies in Agricultural Science. Now back home in Ireland, he is pursuing a career in freelance journalism. He speaks to Rosita Boland about his generation. Video: Bryan O'Brien

 

This article is part of The Irish Times Generations project. Since April 2014, people ranging in age from 20 to 102 have shared their views on Irish life, past and present, with reporter Rosita Boland. Read all those published so far at irishtimes.com/generations

 

Killian Woods lives in Stillorgan, Co Dublin

My mum, Fiona, had me when she was 23. I grew up in Co Meath with her and my grandparents. I’ve never known my father. I have no point of reference for any other family life. I’d much rather have had one parent consistently through my life rather than a father who was there for six or seven years and was then gone, which happens. I would not trade my upbringing for one second.

I grew up with horses. I still have one out in Meath; Dusky. I did ag science at UCD, specialising in equine science. My plan was to go on to do veterinary, but in college I fell in love with journalism and I ended up being sports editor of the college paper, the University Observer.

I took a year out from college after third year to travel. Myself and a friend bought as many tickets for the Rugby World Cup as we could and then went to New Zealand. We ended up staying for a year, driving round in a camper van. I got work at a stud farm working with horses. It was a mix between training yearlings and delivering foals at ungodly hours of the night.

It was hard to come home, to go from earning money and having an independent life in New Zealand and having my own car, to going back to college.

 

Coasting through college

A lot of people go through college coasting. When I was there, there were no student fees and a lot of people took their education for granted as a result. For instance, on a Friday, there’d be maybe three people in my lecture out of a class of 170. I don’t think my generation valued education, because it was free. There are definitely some things about my generation that feel a bit self-righteous, like that certain things should be free. There was uproar when people had to pay for the gym in college.

 

People in their 20s expect a lot of things to be free. If it’s not cheap, a lot of people won’t do it. They’re more likely to download movies than go to the cinema.

There are a lot of people in college not trying anything new. People in college would be looked down on if they get involved in politics. The view is, ‘What are you bothering to do that for?’ It’s seen as being uncool.

 

Paid internship

I graduated in 2013. I applied to be deputy editor of the University Observer and did that for a year. In June 2014, I got a paid internship at the Web Summit. I went in as a general intern and then ended up in marketing. I chose to leave this February, six months before the end of the contract. I wanted to do something different. I want to get into journalism. I’d saved up a good bit of money to see me through the next phase, because it’s a full-time job looking for jobs

 

People in their 20s are just enjoying themselves. We’re happy to live out our 20s and see where it takes it us.

I’d like to roam. I can’t imagine ever having enough money to own a house. I can see myself renting for a long time to come.

I’m older now than my mother was when she had me, but I can’t even fathom being a father at this age. I’m very happy I just have myself to rely on. If I want to leave a well-paying job to try my hand at journalism, I can. I have.

I’m very worried about this upcoming marriage equality referendum, because we could put ourselves on the world stage as how backwards we are. I don’t think it will pass this time. I don’t think the vote will be 60-40 in favour; I think it will be less. It’s not okay to put the message out to the world that more than half of our voting population are anti-gay marriage.

I’ll go out and vote for the referendum and I see that as my contribution. I think a lot of my generation will see voting as their contribution. It’s not enough. We need to get out there and campaign and change people’s minds. I’d like to think I’ll do that, but I’m pretty sure I won’t.

 

A man’s world

I do think Ireland is a man’s world – and that’s because men don’t even have to think about whether it is or not. I don’t have to consider that question on a daily basis, because I’m a straight white man. And it’s very easy for me to escape the impact of religion on me as a straight man. If I was a woman thinking of having a child, or a gay man, I don’t know if I’d stay here in Ireland, because we don’t give those people any reason to stay.

 

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