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Dublin: 3°C Saturday 4 December 2021

Heroin, warmth and Christmas dinner: Stories from two men living on Dublin's streets

John and Martin exist in very different ways in the doorways of Ireland’s capital.

PHOTOGRAPHER DONAL MOLONEY sparked up a friendship with Martin, a Texas-born man who lives on the streets of Dublin last November after spotting him feeding the pigeons under a bridge.

Happy with his lot, Martin sees the positives in his life on the streets. When asked how he ended up there, he simply says:

I think I liked it.

“It’s actually quite warm here. Just like a bed. It all depends on your imagination. It feels like it was when you are in bed at home. Which it is actually. It’s very exciting when you wake up.”

Moloney describes Martin as his most interesting and intriguing friend.

“When I spotted him, he was lying under the bridge, feeding pigeons. Almost looked like a Dickens character and then when I approached him, he spoke with this very grand accent.”

Moloney has a theory that Martin was raised in Malta as he had heard from people in the country that he has an accent very specific to a group of ex-pats that went to St Edwards school.

However, Martin is evasive about the first twenty years of his life. He shares details about his adult existence – his wife sadly passed away, his first job was at Sloanes on Parliament Street selling clothes and bedding and he studied Communications and Graphic Design at Whitehall in Dublin.

“Martin seems happier than most,” concludes Moloney, who was inspired by his “new buddy” to start a project on Dublin’s homeless.

“Martin has no drink or drugs problems but most of the others do,” he explained.

So far, the photographer has interviewed about nine homeless men and women, including one couple. He has spoken to most of them on more than one occasion, and has obtained their permission to share their stories.

Despite Martin’s Pollyanna view of the world, the everyday existence of the homeless is anything but positive.

John, a heroin addict, lives in a doorway about two buildings down from his mate Joe. Joe is also addicted to heroin.

“It’s a horrible thing but they look after each other,” says Moloney. “In terms of gear and money, they depend on each other.”

Here is his story, in his own words:

The following two videos are some of Moloney’s first encounters with martin:

See more of Donal’s work on his website and his Facebook page.

PHOTOS: Baltimore’s homeless men make their own shelters from doors and milk crates

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