Dublin vs Prague continues! This time we compare the hostels in which I stayed in both places – first up is the Dublin Stay at Avalon House.
After 3 intense days of being cooped up in BlogHouse, it was time for me to be on my own in Dublin. I had booked myself a room in Avalon House – it was oddly quiet having a space all to myself after living with 15 other people in one rowdy castle for the past few days, but kinda nice too. Read on for my hostel review:
The hostel is located along Aungier (say ehn-gee-er, not orn-gier, which is how I kept confusing cab drivers) street which is close to St Stephen’s Green, about 2 blocks or a 5-10 min stroll away. I liked it because it wasn’t on the typical tourist belt (i.e. Temple Bar area) which can get pretty rowdy at night – the Irish people really like to party, and Temple Bar is party central! Friends staying in hostels there complained of neon lights and crowd noises into the wee hours of the night, not fun at all.
Aungier street is relatively quiet – the hostel is right next door to a small Carmelite church (which apparently houses the remains of St Valentine’s). My room’s window opened into the backyard so I had pretty peaceful sleep most of the time. It’s still very close to stuff (see Around The Area below) – most of the major Dublin city sights were within a 10-30min walk. I had a free bus pass but I never had the chance to use it!
From the airport, it takes around 40-45 mins by bus. If you take the Airlink bus like I did for 6 euro (10 euros both ways), you stop at Trinity College (Dame Street), and it’s about 10-15 minutes walk. There is a direct bus #16 that’s cheaper at 2.80 euro and drops you right on Aungier street.
I took a private room with ensuite toilet for 5 nights – the rate was 35 euros/night for Fri and Sat, and 30 euros/night for the other days, coming up to a total of 160 euros or S$270 for my stay in total. If you’re ok with sharing rooms and toilets, the dorms are available for as cheap as 10 euros/night.
You can book online through Avalon’s website, I usually prefer to book direct but for some reason, I didn’t have full availability for my stay when booking through Avalon’s website. When I checked again using the Visit Dublin website though, it was available so I made my booking through there.
I had to amend my booking and remove a night because of a change in itinerary, which cost an extra 10 euro. I’ve seen stuff in some online reviews about bookings not being received, but mine was pretty smooth and problem free. The deposit is 10% and I paid the remainder by credit card at the hostel.
I was in Room 201, on the second level and right next to the lift. Access was through key card, and it seemed pretty secure – you needed access for the main entrance, the hostel entrance and your room door.
The room is pretty basic and not very big – it’s mostly taken up by the bed and some space around it. My bed was a bunk bed which could sleep 3 people, though I imagine 3 people trying to move around this room might be quite claustrophobic. But since it was just one of me, I was quite comfortable, reminded me of my old dorm room somehow – most of the time that I was in the room, I spent sitting on my bed working on my computer.
There are 2 power outlets which are in a slightly odd position behind the head of the bed – I had to physically pull the bed away to have enough space to stick my adaptor in.
I had a window which opened to a backyard, not much of a view though it kept the room cool and allowed in some fresh air. Not sure how summers must feel like as there’s no fan! I also had a radiator for heat, but I don’t think it was working properly because there was never any heat emanating from it no matter how I turned the knob.
The toilet itself was small but functional – the shower was a little elbow banging for me so it might be a tight fit for larger folk than myself. The shower is a push button type, which is a tad annoying because you have to keep pressing it, but at least there was hot water and a decent pressure, so no real complaints from me. The sink taps were also push button.
The walls of the rooms are not that thick, so you can kinda hear people coming and going in the corridor. I don’t know whether it was the weekend, or people were talking in the stairwell cause the lift was broken, but I could hear people talking while in the room on one night all the way till 2-3am. Perhaps a downside of the general neighbourhood being too quiet!
Breakfast is free, though rather sparse – it’s mostly a weird oaty cereal and bread with condiments, so I never ate any of it. The breakfast counter is connected to a rather hipster looking cafe called the Bald Barista which forms the frontage of Avalon Hostel, so you could do that if you wanted something fancier. The hostel itself doesn’t have a bar though there are some along the street and in the area.
Free wi-fi with a password that’s accessible from the rooms and has pretty decent speeds – I used bittorrent one night when I was chilling out and had quite good download speeds.
I had a drinking water fountain right outside my door which was pretty convenient.
AROUND THE AREA
You get to the Liffey River by turning left along Aungier Street, which changes in South Great George’s Streeet before hitting Dame Street – here are a couple of things you pass along the way:
The entrance to George’s Street Arcade is also found along that road – it has the similar Victorian red bricked architecture, and has a daily street market that’s quite worth checking out.
An acquaintance recommended the Whitefriar Grill for a good brunch though I never did get to check it out, looks like a nice chi-chi place for a leisurely Sunday brunch.
I did pop into Hogan’s Bar on my last evening there for a pint of Bulmers – the bar facing away from the door area is less crowded and I was left pretty much to do my own thing, catch up on journaling and savour my last Irish Cider.
All in all, quite a pleasant stay. Service was good and efficient and I didn’t have any major problems. Reviews on TripAdvisor sound a little hit and miss which had me a bit concerned at first, but I had a pretty good stay and I would consider this place again if I came back to Dublin!
55 Aungier Street, Dublin 2, Ireland