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Backpack & Budget : Irish Hostels

For less than $50, travelers based in Dublin can have round-trip rail transportation to Killarney, two nights’ accommodations at the international youth hostel, advice on what to see and where to eat with a budget in mind, and information on the local pubs that offer both traditional and contemporary music.

This is just one of a number of economical, do-it-yourself packages being offered this year to visitors to Ireland by An Oige (the Irish Youth Hostel Assn.).

There are 50 An Oige hostels in the Republic of Ireland. The Youth Hostel Assn. of Northern Ireland (YHANI) has six facilities. Hostels range from primitive farmhouses to castles. Rates for 1994 range from about $3.50 to $8.50 per night for a bed in a dormitory room. The exception is the Dublin International Youth Hostel, where rates run $10-$13 for members of Hostelling International, slightly more for non-members.

An advantage for independent travelers who buy the do-it-yourself packages is that lodging, transportation and ancillary costs are usually known in advance, and yet travelers retain a lot of freedom. The disadvantage is that you commit yourself to using certain services before you know whether other facilities might better suit your tastes.

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Thus it makes sense to research the areas you intend to visit before making decisions. A good source for budget travelers to Ireland would be the new 382-page “Let’s Go: Ireland” (Harvard Student Agencies; $15.99).

The An Oige budget weekend to Killarney is priced at $42. Similar weekends, which also include two nights’ accommodations and return rail from Dublin, are available for Limerick ($42), Cork ($42) and Galway ($48), or from anywhere in Ireland to Dublin ($49).

The hostels are open to travelers of all ages.

You can get more information or book these packages by contacting the An Oige Head Office, which is within the Dublin International Youth Hostel at 61 Mountjoy St., Dublin 7, telephone from the U.S. 011-353-1-304555 or fax 011-353- 1-305808.


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