Over the years our Head Office in Dublin has received bag loads of odd questions about youth hostels in Ireland. A few of them keep appearing. We already have an official FAQ page so we thought we would put together a definitive list of answers to some of the more interesting questions
1. Is An Óige still going?
Yes. As long as young people need budget accommodation to help them travel around Ireland we will provide them with beds.The problem is that the young people grow up, start getting notions and assume that we have closed down now that they are staying in fancy-pants hotels. Don’t grow up kids!
2. Are hostels still cold grim places with stone faced wardens that lock you out if you smile?
No. That was back in the day. Our youth engagement policy is updated every few years to adapt to the changing needs of young people. That is why we now have private rooms, restaurants, cinemas and saunas. We can only assume that previous generations were in need of a bit of toughening up. All our youth hostel managers are hired on the basis of their local knowledge, customer service and their ability to outstare a pleading backpacker who rocks up on the day hoping there is a free bed hidden somewhere.
3. What does An Óige mean anyway?
It means “the youth”. Dublin in the 1930s was such a depressing place that young people would walk all day and then sleep in a converted cowshed rather than stay in town. Despite the invention of central heating, the internet and Pokemon Go, this is still true today. Young people can be strange like that.
5. Do you have to be young to stay in youth hostels in Ireland?
Not at all. You have to be cool but if you have a pulse we will let you in. All our hostels have inbuilt communal spaces which are the opposite of those sonar devices that keep teenagers away from shopping centres. The only thing that rocks our world more than seeing groups of young people hanging around in common rooms messaging each other is older people who sit there reading old maps and newspapers oblivious to the chatter.
6. Do you have to speak Irish in youth hostels in Ireland?
Not unless you want to. People generally speak whatever language they are comfortable with. You are more likely to hear German, French and Spanish and the odd bit of gibberish. Hostels were the original multilingual spaces. If you do want to speak Irish we have plenty of hostels in Gaeltacht regions.
7. Do you have to be a member?
Members are the elite of the hostelling community. They get discounts on future stays. To become a member you have go through a secret initiation where you swear to never set foot in a hotel and you have to live off coffee and the free food shelf for six months*. Then we will think about it. Members have a secret hostel handshake.**
8. Does the lack of privacy not annoy you?
You are probably reading this on a device that allows global businesses to track everything you do and you are uncomfortable with the notion of sleeping in the same room as a fellow adventurer who is willing to trust you that you will not do anything weirder than snore. However, even I do not leave my phone down in a dorm room as my son will just walk off with it.
9. What is the weather like near hostels?
The weather near hostels is created by the mix of people from far-flung parts of the world who bring their own atmosphere with them rolled up in socks in their rucksacks. The only thing we can guarantee is that it will change and there is usually clouds and guitars somewhere in the mix. The weather changes depending upon the moods of our hostel cleaners, so be nice to them. Weather changes are usually written on a whiteboard with the daily specials and activities.
10. Hostels still sound suspiciously like hotels for people who are too mean to pay for breakfast.
Did you mention free breakfast? Can we finish this chat later?
To learn more about youth hostels in Ireland you could do worse than sign up to our newsletter, or better still, take a chance and go and explore one yourself.