Ross O’Carroll-Kelly: ‘Honor, what are the girls in Mount Anville going to say when they find out you’re living in a housing estate?’

The O’Carroll-Kellys go to view a well-appointed property set in the hort of one of South Dublin’s most sagacious suburbs

Listen | 07:06

“A well-appointed property,” Sorcha goes, reading from the bumf, “set in the hort of one of South Dublin’s most sagacious suburbs. Oh my God, I love that word. It sounds amazing, doesn’t it, Ross?”

I’m like, “It’s Cabinteely, Sorcha,” because I came up with shit like that all the time when I worked as an estate agent. “Let’s not go wetting our porty dresses here.”

She’s there, “Yes, it’s Cabinteely, but you could technically call it Foxrock.”

“Oh, I did,” I go, “many, many times. You can throw a saddle on a donkey, Sorcha — but it doesn’t make it a Derby winner.”

We turn into The Pork and we’re suddenly driving past all of these — and I mean this quite literally — semidetached houses

Honor is sitting in the back of the cor with her three idiot brothers. She’s got her nose in her phone — not saying a word.

I’m there, “What do you think, Honor? Would you be happy to live in let’s be honest Cabinteely?”

“Yeah, I don’t have time to invest right now,” she goes. “Sincerity Matthews got bitten by a mosquito in QDL and her forehead blew up like a focking basketball! Hill! Air!”

We turn into The Pork and we’re suddenly driving past all of these — and I mean this quite literally — semidetached houses. People are mowing their own lawns and — I’m not making this up — casually chatting to their neighbours over their front fences. It’s all very weird and unnecessary.

I’m there, “It’s, em, very different to Killiney, isn’t it? Look at these people — all living in each other’s pockets.”

Sorcha’s like, “This is what’s known as an actual community, Ross.”

“It just feels like—”

“What?”

“ — a bit of a comedown, that’s all. Even in terms of size. How many of these houses are we thinking of buying?”

“One, Ross.”

“One? And how the fock are we all going to fit in it?”

“The one we’re going to view has got four bedrooms. There’s one for us, one for Honor and the boys can share the other two between them.”

I try to catch Honor’s eye in the rear-view mirror. I can’t believe she hasn’t kicked off.

I’m there, “It’s very close to the dualler, Honor. You’ll be able to get the bus to school,” just trying to provoke a reaction from her.

But she just goes, “Oh my God, she’s posted, like, 30 photos of her big, swollen head on Instagram — the girl is, like, such a sympathy seeker.”

Sorcha’s there, “It’s just here on the left, Ross.”

I pull in and we all spill out of the cor. I look up at the gaff. I’m there, “Does it not seem very small to you?”

Sorcha’s there, “It’s not small — it’s just, like, smaller than we’re used to? And that’s the whole point of us deciding to downsize. At the moment, we’re living on a plot of land that could accommodate, like, 20 families — and that’s in the middle of a housing crisis. It’s immoral.”

I open the front gate and we tip up to the front door. I’m there, “Honor, I’m very surprised that you’re fine with this. What are the girls in Mount Anville going to say when they find out you’re living in a housing estate?”

But Honor’s like, “Oh my God,” still not looking up, “she had to go on, like, an antihistamine drip!”

Sorcha presses the — I shit you not — doorbell. If we buy this gaff, that’s getting disconnected on day one. I don’t want randomers just dropping in whenever they feel like it, which seems to be the definite vibe around here.

The door is answered by a dude in a suit who gives us the finger guns. He goes, “You must be the O’Carroll-Kellys.”

I’m there, “I worked as an estate agent myself, bear in mind. So just give us the tour without the horseshit.”

The dude leads us through the door at the end of the hallway.

“So this is the kitchen,” he goes, deciding to ignore my warning. “As you can see, the headline here is the imaginative use of space.”

I’m there, “It’s smaller than our pantry.”

Sorcha goes, “Don’t listen to my husband. We’ve decided to knock down our current home for aportments and try to live in a way that’s more, I want to say, socially responsible?”

I’m like, “Honor, are you not getting a word of this?”

I actually grew up on Vico Road where people keep themselves to themselves. At school, I was always jealous of the girls who lived among people. It always looked like so much fun to me

She’s there, “Shush, will you? I’m trying to think of something to write in Sincerity’s comments that sounds like I’m being possibly sympathetic even though I’m actually being horrible.”

Little Leo tears open the fridge and storts helping himself to the food. He pulls out a cooked chicken and sits down on the floor to eat it. Suddenly, his two brothers stort fighting him for it like wild dogs. The estate agent dude is obviously wondering should he say something but he decides to just leave it because he can see how much Sorcha loves the gaff.

“I actually grew up on Vico Road,” she goes, “where people keep themselves to themselves. At school, I was always jealous of the girls who lived among people. It always looked like so much fun to me.”

All of a sudden, I shout, “For the love of God, Honor, say something!”

And that’s when she looks up for the first time since we left the gaff 20 minutes ago. I swear to God, she storts blinking like she’s just woken up from a 30-year coma.

“Okay, where the fock am I?” she goes.

I’m there, “We’re in The Pork, Honor — in Cabin-focking-teely!”

She’s like, “Er, why?”

“Because this is where your old dear thinks we should move,” I go.

Her face turns pales and her mouth falls open.

I’m like, “It’s semidetached, Honor. It’s the kind of place where your neighbours call in randomly looking to borrow your stuff.”

Sorcha’s there, “Honor, the idea of us living in a nine-bedroom mansion on an acre of land that could easily accommodate a hundred people is morally indefensible — and I’m saying that as a member of Seanad Éireann and therefore a role model.”

“She’s going to scream,” I go.

Sorcha’s there, “She’s not going to scream.”

But then she does. It seems to come from somewhere deep in the earth, a loud, animalistic yell that’s loud enough to be heard in Killiney, where it would obviously be ignored — just the way we like things.

“There’s nothing wrong with Cabinteely,” Sorcha goes. “What was that word, Ross — sagacious?”

Honor’s there, “Get me the fock out of here — now!”

And I’m like, “I’ll go and get the cor storted.”

Ross O'Carroll-Kelly

Ross O'Carroll-Kelly

Ross O’Carroll-Kelly was captain of the Castlerock College team that won the Leinster Schools Senior Cup in 1999. It’s rare that a day goes by when he doesn’t mention it