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Avalon House Cheap Hostel in Dublin

Posted at:11 September, 2015 in Ambassador Blog

Sept 3

My alarm went off at 04:31 to let me know that three and a half hours of sleep were clearly not enough…

…but that I need to get moving anyhow!  So, I threw myself in the shower in an attempt to wake up as I was still very much asleep even though to the observing eye I showed signs of being awake.

At 05:10, I was packed and out the door.  I walked about 40 meters to where an Airlink Bus was parked and waiting.  Great timing…!  I got on, showed my return ticket, and we were off to the Edinburgh Airport.  The bus was completely packed.  It turned out that there were other people who had also booked bad flights and I was not alone….

Propeller plane!

Propeller plane!

A propellered plane and I flew only 35 minutes from Edinburgh to Belfast City Airport.  That was fast!  In Belfast I bought a return shuttle bus ticket from the airport to the central bus station of the city for £3.80.  I arrived at the Europa Bus Station at 08:55 and a bus was going to Dublin at 09:00.   I bought a return ticked from Belfast to Dublin for €21 and got on the bus that immediately left.  I fell asleep as soon as I sat down and slept most of the 2:30h trip.

I like the staff in the hostel.  I have met at least ten people, and everyone has been very welcoming, chatty and friendly.  The building has a good vibe and really good character.

Eventually I arrived at the Avalon House, a famously cheap hostel in Dublin, where I met JP at the front desk who was wearing a ‘Famous Hostels’ shirt.  I walked up to him and said, “I like your shirt!”  JP and I knew a lot of the same people in the company, so it was nice to feel like I had a friend as soon as I entered the building.  JP then introduced me to Larry and Lisa who manage the hostel.  There is a restaurant at the front of the building where Lisa, Larry and I went for lunch.  I tried the Tuna Melt and Soup.

The food in the hostel is all homemade with freshness and nothing is ever frozen.  Do you like pies and pastries?  They have got those too!

Tuna melt-your-taste-buds at Avalon House.

Tuna melt-your-taste-buds at Avalon House.

The three of us chatted for about an hour.  Lisa is extremely Irish and I have forgotten how fun that accent is…full of words like ‘craic’ for fun, ‘that’s grand’ when things are good, and many things that are great are ‘gorgeous.’  Ah, the Irish are fun people!

After lunch, Larry took me for a walk to show me the hostel.  It is a beautiful and huge building full of vibrantly painted walls of happy colours.  Different cool patterns align different floors.  In the basement is a large screen for watching movies on comfortable couches and a ping-pong table where Larry says they host tournaments for the guests.  The hostel is a busy one, full of people out to have a good time.  Avalon House is a hostel in a city renowned for partying and for wild nights.  They have space for 271 Guinness-drinking/late-night-partying/late-sleeping-in/Dublin-enjoying travelers.  I was checked into a 4 bed dorm with an ensuite bathroom and shower!  Awesome!

Spiral staircase in a dorm room to the top two beds = super cool.

Spiral staircase in a dorm room to the top two beds = super cool.

At 19:30 I headed out on the pub-crawl to see some of Dublin from that perspective as it had been a while since I was in town.  The crawl started at the Workman’s Club which is an amazing venue that is part grandma’s mansion/part club/part rock venue.  There is a streetfood barbecue area on the terrace.  A bartender told me in an Irish accent, “If you are feeling peckish, try the butter garlic fries – if you don’t have a weak heart.  If you do, you are best to stay away from them…”

The pubcrawl moved to the Mercantile, but the bar was so crowded that I kept on losing people so I ventured out into the city on my own.  I love how there is live music in nearly every second bar as one meanders around town.  Cities like Nashville, New Orleans and Dublin are beautiful for their live music.  Dublin specializes in traditional music like no one else in the world…

Temple Bar.  Your ride home after to many Guinness.

Temple Bar. Your ride home after to many Guinness.

If you are in the mood for acoustic versions of U2’s ‘With or Without You,’ Dublin is the place to be!

I bar hopped a little and ended up in a place called The Mezz where they have cheap drinks and bands playing all night.  I ordered a Guinness from a bartender and paid him during the intervals of his beer pouring.  He handed me a receipt and change.  Then after he finished pouring the beer, he gave it to me and said, “That will be €5.”  I replied that I had paid him.  He looked confused.  I told him, “Honesty,” and I gave him the receipt he had just handed me.  He looked at the receipt and said, “Sorry sir!  I had a joint before work…”  We laughed.

 

St. Patrick’s Blue!  The official colour of Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Blue! The official colour of Ireland.

Sept 4

Avalon House serves a free breakfast and the café was bustling with people…

For breakfast I joined a table with an Irishman and two English girls to share the exploits we had of previous evening in the city.  Everyone seemed to have had fun last night.  Dublin is a town of fun.  If you like drinking beer bar and hopping, Dublin is what you are looking for.  Everyone in Avalon House looked a little weary though I did not feel too bad myself, which was something of a treat.  I decided to go out and tackle the walking tour and the Dublin Bus Tour of the city.

Some interesting Dublin/Ireland numbers:

-There are 4.6 million people in Ireland.  The last time there were 4.6 million people in Ireland was in 1891.
-In 1845 there were 6.5 million people in Ireland.  Because of the potato famine and difficult times, in the 1910’s Ireland’s population dipped to 2.9 million.  It remained so until the 1960’s when Ireland was accepted as a part of a unified Europe.
-Ireland was fist inhabited in 8,000bc, compared to England just across the Irish Sea and that was inhabited 12,000 years earlier in 20,000bc.
-To stress the point, more time had passed between the time differences of when England and Ireland were inhabited than the time difference between 8,000bc when Ireland was first inhabited and today.  There were no stone-age people, nor were there Neanderthals in Ireland.  It was one of the last European nations to be inhabited.
-Between the years 4000bc and 1000bc, all of the gold in Europe came from Ireland.
-Dublin is over 2,000 years old.
-12,000 of the 23,000 people living in Dublin died when the black plague arrived.
– In the 12th century, the ultimate insult was to kill someone and bury them with the carcass of a dog.
-At 121 meters, the Spire in Dublin is the tallest piece of street art in the world.
-64 acres of land in Dublin is specifically dedicated to making and Guinness.
-Phoenix Park, also known as Dublin’s Playground, is 1752 acres, is the largest urban enclosed park in Europe.
-The Ha’penny Bridge used to have a toll of ½ of a penny to cross per set of feet.  In past times, gentlemen used to carry their ladies across it to save a ½ penny.

Ah, Dublin is cool....

Ah, Dublin is cool….

I went back to Avalon House in the afternoon to relax and to wash clothes.  I had to recycle a pair of underwear this morning and I can not remember the last time I did not have my jeans on, so a washing was imminent today.  I have twelve pair of underwear with me, and I actually measure time by that.  It means that I was in Rotterdam 13 days ago…my last washing…

Cheap Hostel in Dublin

FYI – If you are in the Avalon House Hostel and you are hungry, try the quiche.  It is hand made by manager Lisa and it is delightfully good!  Actually, you can not go wrong with anything made in the café of the hostel.

I got lucky in Avalon House with my four bed dorm.  I was sharing a room with a really cool Canadian named Alex who is a stand-up comedian, and a Dutch painter who specializes in scenes with naked women.  The three of us hit it off well and decided to venture out of the Avalon and take on the city together.  Alex and I stopped at a small store for food and there were warps on display in a glass counter.  I asked the guy serving food what was in the warps.  In an Irish accent he replied, “I couldn’t tell you…”  I liked that.  The girl working beside him said, “Yea, we like to set the bar low here…”  Alex and I bought the wraps anyhow because a gamble is always fun.  Chicken fajita….

The three of us went to a couple of bars and stopped at O’Neil’s to meet some girls Alex knew from a walking tour.  There was great traditional music and dancing taking place inside.  Irish dancing, which I had never seen before, is a lot of tap and foot work.  When the music stopped, I took our little crew on my own pub crawl of Dublin.  We visited Sweeney’s – three floors – three bands – rock and roll – local Irish people.  It is great in there.

Irish dancing.

Irish dancing.

 

As we walked towards the stage and stood in front of the band, in the crowd an older woman who had her back to me grabbed my hand and held it.  I noticed her partner was standing beside me, and was aware that she had mistaken my hand for his.  I just held her hand to see how she was going to react when she figured out that I was not who she thought I was.  The man who was with her was a big man, and eventually she must have figured out that something was not right and that the hand in her hand felt smaller.  She turned around and made eye contact with me.  I was smirking.  Shock!  Her eyes said a lot in a second.  In her surprise she let go of my hand.  Then she began laughing with embarrassment.  I tapped her man on the shoulder and told him, “She’s got a nice grip…”  The three of us were laughing in hysterics and her face was incredibly red.  It was great.  My crew and I moved around the bar a little, but any time the lady and I made eye contact again, we would burst out laughing.  So much fun.

Trivia – What is the official colour of Ireland?  Nope, it is not green.  It actually St. Patrick’s Blue!

Eventually, my friend Lucia came to meet up and we ended up in The Mezz again where everyone consumed a lot of Guinness.  We just chatted and had fun together.  I ended up drinking seven pints of the lovely black nectar through the evening.

After leapfrogging a city trash-bin for her in a bit of showing off, Lucia put me into her car and drove me back to Avalon House Hostel in Dublin.  The hostel was quiet at 04:30.  I checked with night reception to see what time I would have to check out in the morning.  “10:00.”  Yikes.  That sounded painful.  I said goodnight, found my dorm, brushed my teeth and went to bed.

The Avalon House Hostel

The Avalon House Hostel

Sept 5
Everyone in my dorm-room was checking out today, so it was a busy hive of activity for four smelly dudes…

… We went for Avalon House Hostel breakfast and then I went back to my room to finish packing.  I loaded my bag, headed downstairs, said goodbye to a really cool reception staff and kitchen staff, and made to the Dublin bus station.  From there, I caught a northbound vessel to Belfast where I turned my seat and the empty one next to me into a bed.  Belfast lunch, Belfast City Airport, flight out of wonderful Ireland…

Avalon House Cheap Hostel in Dublin
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