Young visitors to Ireland this summer can take advantage of budget accommodation facilities in Dublin, special low-cost "do-it-yourself" tour packages for sightseeing or cycling and student discounts on transportation services.
Dublin's fourth international youth hostel is due to open this month. The building, once a school, will be able to accommodate more than 400 visitors.
Guests should be prepared to share dormitory rooms. Twenty of the 34 rooms will be furnished with just two beds. The 5.50 (about $8.35 U.S.) nightly fee includes breakfast.
The new hostel will be about a 10-minute walk from the tourist information office at 14 Upper O'Connell St. Drop in for directions.
Dublin Hostel Office
While in Dublin, also consider visiting the travel office of the Irish Youth Hostel Assn. at 39 Mountjoy Square for information on budget packages designed for independent travelers.
This year the association is offering packages that combine a pass for bus and rail transportation with vouchers for dormitory-style accommodations at any of its 50 youth hostels. The hostels vary from castles and cottages to shooting lodges, coast guard stations, schoolhouses and military barracks.
These Rambler packages include vouchers for 7 or 14 nights' accommodations, a hostel handbook, map and an eight-day bus-and-rail transportation pass. If you take the 14-day version of the package, you can use your transportation pass on any eight days during the 14. The one-week package costs 95; two weeks are 120.
Similar packages, with a transportation pass valid for any 15 days during a 30-day period, plus vouchers for 14, 21 or 28 nights at hostels, are also available. The 14-night version costs 130; for 21 nights it's 155, and for 28 nights the cost is 175.
There are packages for cyclists that combine a rental bike with vouchers for hostel accommodations, plus a handbook and a map. You can start from the Dublin area at any time of the year, or from Rosslare in June, July or August. A seven-day package costs 45, and for 14 days it's 80.
If you want to concentrate on cycling in a different area of the country, you can buy a similar package that includes return rail transportation to Kerry, Galway, Sligo, Mayo, Cork, Limerick or Wexford. The package includes a rental bike, hostel accommodations, handbook and map. The one-week version costs 75, two weeks are 120 and three weeks are 150.
Students can check on special discounts in Ireland at the travel offices of USIT, the Irish student travel service. In Dublin there is an office at 7 Anglesea St.
If you have an International Student Identity Card, you can buy a special Travelsave Stamp for 6 at a USIT office. This stamp is honored for up to a 50% discount on domestic transportation services.
This year the Youth Hostel Assn. of Northern Ireland (YHANI) will operate eight hostels. For the last several years it has been shifting the locations of its hostels, closing inland ones and opening more coastal sites.
Youth hostel members of any age are eligible for discounts on deck-class ferry travel from Northern Ireland.
A 25% discount is offered on the fare for the 10-hour trip from Belfast to Liverpool. There is also a 25% discount on the popular 2 1/2-hour trip between Larne (near Belfast) and Stranraer, in southwest Scotland. The second discount is not available on Friday or Saturday sailings during July and August.
The discounts on ferry travel are not available through travel agents, but only if you buy your ticket at a port ticket office.