The Doolin Hostel is now in the building across the road and while still a very nice hostel which features dorm & private rooms and a complimentary continental breakfast each morning, the information in this article is not correct for the new building. Please visit the Doolin Hostel website for up to date information.
Located in the ‘small wee' village of Doolin on Ireland's west coast, where traditional music and stunning scenery draw tourists by the busload, the Doolin Hostel provides a comfortable, affordable stay for families.
I've been visiting Ireland for over a decade, but until this past fall (October 2014), I had never stayed in a hostel. I had no reason to avoid them but, being in my 30s and traveling with children, I didn't view hosteling as a lodging alternative. I had the notion that my husband and I might be too old, or my kids too young.
And though that may be the case for some hostels, it is not the case for all. Which I learned first hand at Doolin Hostel.
What Your Family Can Expect at Doolin Hostel
Driving into Doolin and following the signs toward Doolin pier, you will easily find Doolin Hostel perched on a small rise just before the village. The bus stop directly in front of the doors make it easily accessible by public transport, and the large car park is testament to the fact that this place is not just for backpackers.
Entering the hostel is quite a lot like entering a large home. Through the front door and to the right is a large common room with comfy chairs, a TV, cafe tables and a fireplace. Straight down the hallway is the huge kitchen, and breakfast room. Check-in is to your left, in the cafe where you will find specialty coffees, fresh baked scones and cookies, pizza and bagels. A cooler offers cold beverages of the alcoholic and soft varieties, and a small ‘corner store' has a few snacks, chocolates, eggs, and meal items for sale.
Lodging is upstairs. With a variety of room types, there is something for everyone. Our family room had a double bed and two twin beds, as well as a ensuite bath. Everything was clean and comfortable, and linens are provided in all rooms.
A complimentary continental breakfast is provided each morning, which features yogurt, granola, bread & pastries, cereals, juices, tea, and coffee. If you're after a more hearty meal, the kitchen is available for your use. Note: there is no grocery store in Doolin, so pick up items during your explorations. Eggs are available for purchase in the cafe. After breakfast you'll clean your own dishes and put them away.
What I most appreciated about the Doolin Hostel is that family is very important to the owners Anthony and Dierdre Moloney. As parents themselves, and living on property, they made the decision to not allow ‘stag and hen parties' in the hostel. Though there were quite a few young backpackers at the hostel during our stay, there were also a couple of families (from France and Germany), as well as an older couple who were motorcycling through Ireland. It was a very diverse and friendly group.
Things to Do Near Doolin Hostel
Doolin really is a lovely base for exploring western Ireland. Just down the road is Doolin harbour where you can take a ferry to the Cliffs of Moher or Aran Ialands. The Cliffs of Moher Coast Walk begins just outside the hostel's door. Traditional music can be found at the village's pubs, which are within walking distance. Caving, sea kayaking, hiking, surfing, and so much more are just a few minutes drive from Doolin.
Booking Your Stay at Doolin Hostel
Anthony promises the best deal when you book directly with Doolin Hostel online. Be sure to use code IFV so they know you read about them at Ireland Family Vacations!