Meet Monica: Homestay host and baker extraordinaire

Dublin host Monica has been hosting guests in her spacious Rathmines home for years and loves meeting people to learn about their cultures while sharing hers. We had a chat to hear all about her experience as a host. We even indulged in some of Monica's freshly baked scones and a cup of tea with her when we stopped off, a wonderful Irish welcome gift.

Why did you sign up with

I first heard about from a friend who's been an active host for the last year or so. It sounded like it would suit me and my family better as the guests are more independent so I decided to check it out. I've found that the type of guests you host need less minding so it gives me more flexibility which I love.

Tell us about hosting: what is it you like about the experience?

We've been hosting guests in our home for over five years on and off. I've found it to be good for everyone in the house. There's a great social element to having guests from all over the world stay in your home. It's been good for our kids to meet other cultures and to have exposure to other languages as well. We like the role we play, welcoming guests to our home and sharing our culture with them.

Dining area and music room in the home

How do you find hosting with differs from other companies?

I hosted guests from language schools for many years but I feel guests from Homestay are much more independent, there is no babysitting. Guests are free to join in with family life as much or as little as they want so it works well for everyone. Homestay offers us a variety of guests so it's a great chance to share our culture and learn about theirs. My husband works in the food industry so it's lovely to share cuisines and learn about new food and recipes.

Monicas son playing the drums and guest on the piano

What would you say to anyone thinking of signing up as a host?

Go for it! Hosting with is hassle free and convenient. The guests are independent, more mature and they manage their own time. All guests need is support. It works for me as I can set my availability to when suits me. fits in with our family life, guests come and go as they please without disturbing the family. There's freedom for us and for the guest so I'd definitely recommend giving it a go.

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What are your interests and hobbies?

Our home is always lively. My daughter is working abroad but my four sons live at home so there are always kids coming and going. The boys love music and football so there are many opportunities to join in. Our home is a very welcoming atmosphere. We all look out for each other. It's a good place for students as well because the kids are all studying at different levels so there's a learning environment in the house. Everyone in the family is into music so we have a piano, drums and a guitar in the house. The boys in particular love playing music. My husband and I are true foodies. We both love to cook all types of food and watch cookery programmes to look for ideas for new things to try. I'm also an avid baker so I regularly make scones in our Aga stove. In the summer, we spend a lot of time in the garden and we have a table tennis table for people to use.

The back garden of the home

What is something that every guest should see or do in Dublin?

Somewhere I always recommend to our guests is to visit St. Stephen’s Green and to venture down Grafton Street to soak up the atmosphere for themselves. You can experience the best of Dublin there. The Luas (tram) is less than a five-minute walk from our home which will leave you right in the heart of St. Stephen's Green.

Tell us a bit about your area, what do you like most about where you live?

There's a lovely community atmosphere in our area. Our home is in a housing estate and the neighbours share a big open green which the kids use to play football. It's a very safe area and the neighbours all look out for each other. Guests will find it's a very convenient location with the Luas (tram) a short walk away to bring you into the city centre in about 15 minutes, there are also many bus routes and lots of beautiful parks nearby. One of my favourite things is The Dropping Well pub across the road, apart from being a nice place to go for a drink, it has a lovely view of the River Dodder.

Host Monica welcomes you to her home

What's something great about Dublin that only a local would know?

Locals know that the people in Dublin are good fun, that there truly is something special about the Irish and that they value the craic. We're a sociable nation and you'll get a warm welcome when you visit Dublin.

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