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YOUTH BEAT

Irish Hostels Wrap Up Vacations in a Tidy Package

March 18, 2001|LUCY IZON | Lucy Izon is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Internet www.izon.com

This year's "Go as You Please" packages from An Sige, a popular hostel network in Ireland, are designed for those who prefer a holiday without structure. Some versions are for the Republic of Ireland only, and others include Northern Ireland. You are given vouchers to exchange for shared accommodations at affiliated hostels, plus your choice of transportation: bus, rail or bike. Your first night's accommodation will be booked for you, and at that location you pick up your travel pack with tickets and information.

The "Bus and Rail Rambler Holidays" package, valid for travel in the Republic of Ireland, includes hostel accommodation vouchers plus a "Rail/Bus Explorer" ticket, valid for train travel on the Dart system within Dublin and for bus travel for all other towns and cities. For seven nights' accommodation and eight days of travel in a 15-day period, the cost is $197; for 14 nights' accommodations and eight days of transportation within a 15-day period, it is $266.

The "Rail and Cycle Holidays" include hostel vouchers, bike rental and rail transportation to one destination in the Republic of Ireland. With seven nights' accommodation, it costs $146; for 14 nights, $236.

The "Bus Only Rambler Holidays" package includes vouchers for hostels, a ticket for unlimited bus transportation in the Republic of Ireland, a timetable and a hostel handbook with map. Seven nights' accommodation and transportation for any three days within an eight-day period cost $106. Increase it to eight days of travel within a 15-day period for $153. For 14 nights' accommodation and bus travel for eight days within a 15-day period, it's $222.

Similar packages allow you to include travel in Northern Ireland. Seven nights' accommodation and a "Rail/Bus Explorer" ticket for any eight days of travel within a 15-day period (including all public transportation in Dublin) is $215. This same package with 14 nights' accommodation is $285. A 14-night version with transportation for 15 days within a 30-day period is $391.

For cyclists, seven nights at a hostel, bike rental for a week and a handbook and map costs $106. The version with 14 nights' accommodation and bike for two weeks costs $211. Similar packages with bus travel are available.

High season is June through September. From October to May these prices are reduced by an average of $8.20.

For more details, visit http://www.ire landyha.org. From this site you'll also find links for bus, rail and ferry schedules.

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