Top 5 inspiring Humans of Dublin stories

Dublin is full of amazing people each with their own stories. Here are five humans of Dublin and a glimpse into their lives.

Humans of Dublin (HOD) is a photographic project by Peter Varga. Launched in 2014, HOD is a visual exploration of Dublin city dwellers.

Conceptualised by Peter Varga, a Hungarian portrait photographer, the series sees the breadth of the capital’s citizens, shot candidly around the city, bearing their truths to the world.

In collaboration with Humans of Dublin, we here at Ireland Before You Die bring to you five amazing Humans of Dublin stories.

Story 5: A friend in need

This Humans of Dublin story is about a friend in need
Credit: Peter Varga / Humans of Dublin

This story touches on truth that a friend in need is a friend in need. Sometimes people can surprise you in this world, and, as summarised by the woman in question, “a stranger is just a friend you don’t know.”

“The other day I was at the bus stop, and a lady was waiting a few metres away from me. She looked very sad so I decided to speak to her. I wasn’t even acknowledging that she was sad, I just asked her how long she’s waiting for the bus.

“She said it was a while now, and then we just chatted about every day things. And she seemed alright. When the bus arrived I sat down and she sat behind me. About five minutes later she asked if she can sit next to me, and from then on she cried all the way to Dublin.

“She was very upset about her daughter, who she said had gotten involved with the wrong crowd and was out for nights without saying where she went. She was so worried and just didn’t really know what to do. I think she just needed someone to talk to.

“I read a book once that said, ‘A stranger is just a friend you don’t know.’ I may never see her again, but I know in that moment I was her best friend all the way to Dublin.”

Story 4: Loss, love, and hope

This Humans of Dublin story is about loss, love, and hope
Credit: Peter Varga / Humans of Dublin

This Dublin local was captured on film, by Vagra for Humans of Dublin. The story offers a private look into one man’s life and his journey of loss, love, and hope.

“Pickles, my son, was only a youngster, about eight years of age when I took him fishing for the first time. The river was a couple of hundred yards away from where we lived. We set up everything nicely in one spot and his big brother and the lads took another spot a little further down.

“I caught a couple of small fish and then he wanted to try. So I told him, ‘Here, you can use my rod, but be careful with it now! Let me show you what to do.’ I wasn’t even paying much attention when, bang! He had a fish! A huge, beautiful sea trout, I couldn’t believe it.

“He barely got it out of the water, and the first thing he wanted to do was run back home to show his mother. I said, ‘There is still fishing to be done here, son!’

“My three fish were only about half of the weight of his but he just kept saying ‘no, no I really want to show it to Mom’. I remember I had to pack up everything and go all the way back home just to show it to his mother…

“I never thought, only a decade later, I would walk by that same spot on the way to bury him… He took his own life. These memories, with so many others, went through me like a hot knife through butter…

“It was the most devastating time in our lives but his brother’s whole world fell apart. They were inseparable, five years between them but they were like twins. He never wanted him to be out on his own. They went everywhere together. If you picked with one you were picking with the other… That’s the way they were.

“He couldn’t get over losing his brother. Seven months later he followed him too… So here I am now… two out of five dead. It took me some time to realize that I’m not here for the ones that are gone.

“I have to be here for the ones that are still here. I’m not looking for answers anymore, because there are no answers, they are gone and took the answers with them. Now I need to be here for the ones left behind…”

Story 3: Friendship and new beginnings

This Humans of Dublin story is about friendship and new beginnings
Credit: Peter Varga / Humans of Dublin

Captured on Fade Street in the heart of Dublin’s “creative quarter,” this Humans of Dublin story tells of friendship, hope, and new beginnings. 

“When I worked as a home care nurse I heard many, many stories about elderly people who would pay their nurses up to €80 just to sleep in their home overnight so they didn’t have to be alone.

These were very lonely people already; best case scenario, someone would look after them 2-3 times a day for an hour each time. That’s 2-3 hours of 24-hours-a-day being completely alone, but the night is always the worst. Often they would only sleep a couple of hours each night and most of them would just be rumbling around in a big house on their own, all night.

“One day, I heard about this service in London called Home Share over the radio. The idea is basically to match elderly people in their homes with students. The students pay much cheaper rent and provide some extra services like spending some quality time with the elderly people, taking out the rubbish, and helping around the house.

I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to reverse the issue and instead of €80 a day out, it could be €50 a week in, with the opportunity to have someone around almost all day and every night…

“I’m three years in and I feel like I’m managing one of those dating sites, constantly trying to match the best-suited personalities. There are some people who just really connect.

“We had this girl who would make a Sunday roast every weekend, all voluntarily, for a man just like his wife did before she died or this guy who lives with a lady who loves crosswords. He would buy books with his own money and they would solve them together at night, then he got her watching rugby with him…

“There are so many of these stories… I’ve helped save a fair amount of student loans and many grandchildren’s inheritance but creating these wonderful relationships is the biggest payoff ever!”

Story 2: Tenacity and personal growth

This story of a Dublin local tells of new beginnings, tenacity, and personal growth
Credit: Peter Varga / Humans of Dublin

This story of a Dublin local tells of new beginnings, tenacity, and personal growth, captured candidly staring straight down the lens. We honour the honesty of this Human of Dublin. 

“My mother got a brain haemorrhage and died suddenly when I was eleven. I started going a bit mad… I didn’t know how to handle losing her. I got involved with the wrong crowd and I started having issues in school too.

“I was convinced that I was dyslexic. I was always kept back in class to finish up the rest of my work because I could never read or spell properly… Eventually, I was sent to a school for destructive kids and they tried to teach me there too but I could never finish a book.

“I was sixteen when I got sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison. I used to go to the school in prison and there was a teacher there… The art teacher! I had a crush on her. One day, I had a book in my hand, it was called Jackie loves Johnser OK?

“I don’t know why I had it in my hand but she saw it and asked me about it and I told her that I’d only just picked it up. She asked me to let her know how it was when I finished. I just really wanted to have a conversation with her, so I took the book to my cell and I must have tried to read it about 50-60 times before I got the gist of it.

“After that, she started bringing me all sorts of books. There was nothing better to do in the prison, so I spent my days reading and by the time I turned eighteen, I was reading big books like Shantaram and Papillon and writing and spelling just came with it. I’ve loved reading ever since.

“I’m on a Pathways Programme at the moment… I’m hoping to start college next year. I would like to do a youth work course to work with kids that had to go through what I’ve been through. I would like to be someone they can talk to, someone who knows how it feels… I could use my experience and turn it into something meaningful.”

Story 1: Adventure knows no age limit

Adventure knows no age limit, as this story shows
Credit: Peter Varga / Humans of Dublin

This Humans of Dublin story just goes to show that we must never judge a book by its cover, and that adventure knows no age limit.

“When people see me with this bike they probably think I’m an old cripple who can’t even walk his fat dog. Well… he’s not fat. That’s muscle.

“I had to buy this special bike because Dynamo was becoming too strong to handle on two wheels. He is my greatest project at the moment. I rescued him three years ago and I am his trainer. This dog needs 10 miles a day just to warm up.

We chase foxes at night to keep them out of our neighbourhood. He is at his peak when he is out running.

“I am no cripple either, I did my last triathlon when I was 72. I swam Alcatraz to San Francisco on the 6th of January. I cycled from Vancouver to San Francisco, 1,300 miles, in nine-and-a-half-days.

I ran marathons and mountains all over the world. I trained a young lad who holds a world record for mountain running…

“I had to visit my GP yesterday. I am 76 years old and had to introduce myself as she’d never met me. I said, I’m feeling great, I’m just here to do this mandatory check-up for over 70’s for my parachute jump in April…”