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The Hostels

Updated: May 12, 2023

Ireland Hostels

We have had the good fortune to stay at a number of hostels in Ireland over the years - some we have talked about in the section titled, "Will We Still Hostel When We're 64...?". We won't repeat the ones we've already talked at length about - just a quick mention. There are a few we haven't listed on that discussion, yet, and they are....

Lus Mor - Wicklow Mountains, County Wicklow, Ireland

Located about 60 minutes South of Dublin is the town of Roundwood. Close to Roundwood is the hostel, Lus Mor. Now, some may argue that Lus Mor is a bed and breakfast and not a hostel. It does show up on the Hostelworld booking site, and we think it has more in common with hostels than it does with a bed and breakfast - there are dorms as well as privates; common areas and a breakfast kitchen that - while not a self-catering kitchen - has a complimentary breakfast (muesli, toast, coffee, tea, croissants) and for a nominal fee (4,00 Euro) a big Irish breakfast. Seriously, I had the vegetarian Irish breakfast for 4,00 Euro and was pleasantly full after (below).

You can wander in to Roundwood for dinner at the local pub, which we heard was quite nice as well - OR, you can check out what Lus Mor has for supper for 10,00 Euro. We ordered the vegetarian chili and believe this may just be the best chili we've had in many years. The meat chili looked good, too, and Angela's mom, Frances, ordered the garden salad and appeared to contain the entire garden. Well worth 10,00 Euro per person. Staff are amazing, and so friendly - and the environment is peaceful and serene. A great start to the morning was sitting out front on the picnic table watching the sunrise with a big cup of coffee and listening to the birds and ponies. It doesn't get much better than that. Check out our video for Lus Mor here.

The vegetarian chili for 10,00 Euro - the bowl is edible. Everything tasted fantastic - very flavourful.

The big room - great for reading; working on your computer; sipping a coffee or tea, or just enjoying the ambiance.

Rooms are upstairs and on the main floor.

Our bedroom had a skylight - great view of Sugarloaf Mountain in the distance.

The view from the front door - picnic table is the perfect location to start any morning - with a big cup of their coffee. It is quite good.

The big common room.

One of the ponies at Lus Mor - Angela considers this one of the best hostels we've stayed it.

The big room at Lus Mor

Angela's mom, Frances, at the entrance to Lus More - family rooms behind Frances through those doors.

View from our walk up the road. County Wicklow South of Dublin.

A place we have stayed 3 times now for a total of 10 days is Kinlay House Hostel in Dublin. Kinlay House is an Irish chain of hostels in Dublin, Galway and Cork. The building in Dublin is unique, and huge. It was a boys' workhouse in the late 1700s - early 1800s and later a technical college in the latter part of the 1800s-early 1900s. In the 1980s it converted to a hostel and today is one of the larger hostels in Dublin with several floors of rooms - both privates and dorm style. The washrooms are large - you never have to wait; the showers are steady and hot when you need them to be; the common room and kitchen are a lot of fun and a great place to strike up conversations with your fellow travelers. Kinlay house is within 10 minutes of Temple Bar - both a strength and a challenge as it can be quite busy in this neighbourhood and neither of us drink. That said, even with a lot of younger travelers out in Temple Bar "having the craic" the hostel remains quiet and our sleep has never been disturbed. Ear plugs have not been required here. We've stayed in rooms in the main building and in a room in the building out back that is connected by a breezeway. They have all been comfortable, warm and near the toilets, though if given our choice we would stay in the main building just because I like to wander around and check out these old places. Be sure to go to the top floor and check out the attic common area. Our review of Kinlay House is on Tripadvisor here.

The outside of Kinlay House Hostel - it is located on Dame Street and you are just across the street from Christchurch Cathedral. Along Dame Street you can find many good restaurants. Our favourite breakfast place is Queen of Tarts, and for dinner you can never go wrong with Kathmandu Kitchen.

Lobby at Kinlay House Hostel

From the first floor landing looking down on the main doors

Between the 3rd and 4th floors

The walls have since been repainted white, which is a shame. It had a sense of whimsy when it had the multiple colours.

Room #110 - a big storage area before the bed.

The bed is surprisingly comfortable - medium firm; most hostel beds are very comfortable if you like a medium-firm mattress.

Down one of the back staircases at Kinlay House Hostel - this is a huge building with some 200+ beds.

The walls are currently this blue-white colour. Photo taken in late 2022.

European Hostels

We are still early in our blogging, so we don't have a large list of hostels to discuss - yet. In fact, we've got one from Lisbon that we have been to twice, because we enjoyed it so much. That hostel is Rossio Hostel (click here to see the video).

Rossio Hostel sets a high bar for hostels - the feeling that you are home when you are there; that you are part of a community of like-minded people, and that you are one of the family. We're not sure other hostels can really compete with Rossio - there is just something very special about Rossio Hostel and aside from the cool old building; amazing atmosphere and great location it is primarily the people. We stayed at Rossio Hostel for 6 days in 2019 and for 6 days in 2022 - both times were the same. A lot of kudos to Madalena who began working there in 2019 and is now the manager of Rossio. The staff are dedicated, friendly and a lot of fun to stay with. The pizza night was phenomenal with a number of pizzas we found quite unique, such as the sardine pizza (Portugal is known for sardines - we encourage you to give it a try), and our favourite the avocado pizza, which was very good and we wish we had the recipe how to make it. The pizza nights on Tuesdays have a live cover band every second week, and then on Sunday night there is a Fado singer (best description is Portuguese blues, but it is more than that) and tapas. The charge for these events is nominal considering what you get. We were so full on pizza and tunes on Tuesday that we wanted to contribute more to the evening financially. Lisbon itself is beautiful and fantastic - however, Rossio Hostel is an adventure all of its own, and the most difficult aspect of staying at Rossio Hostel is having to leave.

The common room at Rossio Hostel - in Europe the first floor is the second floor from a North American point-of-view.

Angela and Frances enjoying a cup of Elsa's (Rossio's chef) coffee in the morning.

One of the room at Rossio Hostel. They all have this appearance - the rooms on the front look out on Rossio Square, which is really nice with a view of Castle Sao Jorge. The rooms on the back are also great with a view up the hill and neighbourhood.

Sunday night is Fado night with tapas. Rossio Hostel brings in one of the local Lisbon Fado singers. We were fortunate to enjoy Jessica Fernandez on this trip - one of Lisbon's premier singers.

Angela in the kitchen at Rossio Hostel - a great way to cut down costs when travelling is utilizing the hostel's resources. Fresh local olives in a pasta dish made it special. Making a meal in the hostel is a good way to strike up conversation with fellow travelers. I find I like to be doing something rather than sitting at a table making small-talk. Cooking is a great intro to conversation and always leads somewhere fascinating.

The kitchen and part of the dining area at Rossio Hostel.

Madalena taught us to make Bacalhau a bras on our first trip to Lisbon and Rossio Hostel.

After two trips we now have good friends at Rossio. Thank you Madalena and everyone at Rossio Hostel.

Rossio has so much going for it - the location is right on Rossio Square, the site of chariot races some 1000 years ago, and also one of Lisbon's central squares. It is a quick 10-minute walk to the Tagus (Tay-Zoo) River, and close to many shops, cafes and restaurants. Rossio is also above the metro station that takes you to the Cais De Sadro station at the end of the line where you can catch the ferry (10 minutes) over to Cacilhas and the Cristo Rei statue, as well as catch the trains to Sintra and Cascais right downstairs from the hostel. Rossio is in an old 17th century building and has lots of character. No elevator, so you do need to be able to do stairs. As mentioned, the people at Rossio are a big part of what makes it special - the staff are amazing, and you feel like you are part of the family and that Rossio is home. Special shout-outs to Elsa for cooking up such fantastic breakfasts and great coffee (included in your stay), and to Madalena for making our stay so special. All the staff deserve credit, and if you stay at Rossio you will get to know everyone. It really is one of the very special places to stay on the planet. Check it out on Tripadvisor here.

Canadian Hostels

Most of our Canadian stays have been in British Columbia. In fact, all of our stays in hostels in Canada have been in BC. We have had a lot of fun in the hostels we've stayed at near home. One of our most memorable hostels is in Cumberland on Vancouver Island. It is called the 'Riding Fool Hostel', and is located on the top floor of a heritage building in downtown Cumberland. The building was the old hardware shop; it is now a bicycle shop as Cumberland is re-branding itself as the mountain biking capital of Vancouver Island (maybe British Columbia). It is located 30 minutes from Mount Washington Ski Hill, and 10 minutes from Courtney, BC. Victoria is less than a 2 hour drive from Cumberland with lots of local cafes and restaurants to enjoy. The hostel itself has one of the best stocked kitchens we've ever seen - there is very little you would need - save electric kitchen gadgets. We haven't seen a hostel with a lot of plug-in gadgets, such as blenders, food processors and the like. However, this one has everything else you would need. The bedrooms are nice size; the private rooms are really comfortable, and we heard from our co-hostlers that the dorm rooms are really pleasant and comfortable as well. The Riding Fool has one of the most enjoyable common rooms of any hostel we've been it. It takes up the entire end of the upper floor with big windows looking out on the main street; there is a wood stove in the centre with a pool table, 3 big sofas to relax on; a number of comfy chairs; a few table and chairs near the windows for dining, and a number of board games if you get bored - however, with the camaraderie and excitement most of your neighbours have after a day of mountain-biking or exploring, it is difficult to get bored here. The wi-fi is rather good, and if you have a little laptop or tablet you can always relax with a movie or show online.

The kitchen in The Riding Fool has everything you need to make a delicious meal. It is big enough with 3 or four people can be cooking up separate dinners, which is nice.

One of the private rooms in The Riding Fool. There are plenty of toilets and showers where you won't have to wait to use either.

The fantastic common room at The Riding Fool.

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