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A Dublin homelessness tour guide: 'It's given me a voice to shine a light on what life is like on the streets'

Kenny Eivers hopes his tour might help highlight the issues of homelessness in Dublin.

Kenny Eivers
Kenny Eivers
Image: Secret Street Tours

“I ENDED UP in prison because of drugs. When I got out of prison I had nowhere to go. Basically, I was homeless.”

Kenny Eivers was made homeless in 2009. He subsequently spent a number of years living in hostels and on the streets of Dublin. 

“I was on the streets and when you’re on the streets there’s nothing else to do but to use drugs,” Kenny told TheJournal.ie. 

“It wasn’t an easy time. It was a bad part of my life,” he said. 

After a number of years, Kenny got support through a treatment centre and went on to secure housing in the capital. 

Secret Street Tours

In recent months, Kenny has been looking forward to a new venture – as a new guide with non-profit Secret Street Tours.

The tours aim to offer an experience of the city through the eyes and ears of people who have been affected by homelessness. 

The non-profit’s goal is to empower their guides with skills and confidence to take the next step towards independent living whilst offering the public a channel to engage with one of Ireland’s most pressing social challenges. 

Secret Street Tours suspended its tours and moved them online when the Covid-19 restrictions were first brought in earlier this year. 

However, with the easing of some restrictions, the tour has now added a new tour guide – Kenny. 

He completed his first tour with the non-profit this past Sunday where attendees following the government guidelines while on the walk. 

Since working with Secret Street Tours, Kenny has rediscovered parts of Dublin’s inner city. Having walked the streets countless times but always looking down, he now has his head held high and is looking to share his passions and reconnect with society. 

Through his new role, Kenny shares his past experiences of being on the streets of Dublin to help highlight the issue of homelessness in Ireland. 

“I walk through town every day, I see homeless people sitting down, I do have a chat with them … because I was that person sitting there at one stage,” Kenny told TheJournal.ie. 

He said other people tend to “purposefully look away” from those living on the streets. 

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“They don’t really want to acknowledge it or see it,” he said. 

“There’s so much of that going on that it made me think … they are people at the end of the day, they all have their own stories. I though by doing [the walking tours] that I could highlight this,” he said. 

Kenny’s tour begins at Dublin Castle. He makes stops along the way to share snippets of his story as he brings the attendees along Ship Street, Aungier Street, South King Street and St Stephen’s Green. 

Speaking about how the new tour and the impact it has had on his life, Kenny said: “Secret Street Tours has allowed me to grow in confidence and reconnect with people. It’s given me a voice to share my story as well as shine a light on what life is like on the streets.” 

As well as engaging the public and sharing his insights of homelessness, Kenny is also giving back, working for the Dublin Simon Community. 

More information about Secret Street Tours can be found here

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