We had a lovely chat with chef Ger, catering manger and longtime staff member from our hostel in Dublin, Dublin International Hostel.
Mountain, city or coast and why? I prefer a coastal city/town as it has the advantage of a city to explore with the benefits of a beach to relax and access to fresh seafood.
What is your favourite hostel in the network and why? Our hostel in Glendalough, Glendalough International Hostel. This was the first hostel I stayed in. When I first started with the association, the previous management team went down for a bonding session (session being the operative word). Glendalough (Saint Kevins Church) was also my wedding venue, and the hostel was occupied by my extended family and friends. I had some great times with the previous manager Mark Kileen. And that part of Wicklow has some of the most amazing views in the country!
What is your first An Óige hostelling memory? My first memory was my interview for catering manager. After ten years of working in fine dining establishments, I had doubts about whether a hostel was a good career choice. At the time I never realised how much of a positive impact working in the hostel would be for me and my family. Over the years some staff and guests have become an extended family of sorts.
Describe your ideal room-mate. Obviously in reality it is my wife, but if I was to choose anybody it would be Steve Hughes, an Australian comedian – funny, politically incorrect and likes a drink or three.
What is the best meal to cook in a hostel? As a chef cooking for groups of kids, I find a pasta dish goes down well after a day of site seeing in Dublin.
What is the best item to bring with you when staying in a hostel? Although this is a very anti-social device, I think the smart phone is one of the most valuable pieces of equipment while traveling for google maps, music and checking your emails.
What is your favourite book or website to surf when relaxing in a hostel? I’m a bit of a news addict. Although its an oxymoron, I do relax reading the news websites, so I’ll have to say The Journal would be top of my bookmarks.
What is your favourite walk or attraction near a hostel? I have stayed in a few London hostels and central London is an attraction in itself, so rather than take the underground to tourist spots I would prefer to walk all day because there is so much you can miss.
What do you always recommend for visitors to Dublin that guide books might not know about? One of Dublin’s best kept secrets is the Blessington Street Basin behind the hostel. It’s a tranquil oasis that has a variety of wildlife. It’s perfect for an early morning stroll.
Next time you are at our hostel in Dublin, Dublin International Hostel, pop in and say hi to Ger. He can usually be found in the church cafeteria whipping up a mean batch of cornflakes around breakfast time.
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