I had the chance to stay at the popular Barnacles hostel in Galway in September, and then their Dublin location as well in October. By this time, I’ve stayed in over 50 different hostels ranging in 15 different countries over the past few years, so I have quite a bit of experience to work off of while reviewing the hostels I stay at. Instantly arriving to the Galway hostel I was impressed, because it’s so damn centrally located – right in the shopping/tourist district, yet still nice in that I only had to walk to the end of little street, take a right and cross over the bridge to escape the busier areas of town as well. The hostel staff were brilliant, fun and nice, and a good time to chat with – and helpful as well, as all hostel staff should be. My room was stuffed with beds, and for some reason each and every person had the amazing ability to come back at 4AM drunk, and then wake at 7AM fully refreshed and bouncing around the room – and so it is, the unfortunate part of staying in a part of town that’s famous for its late night pub crawls. I found that the rooms and beds were clean (which isn’t always the easiest thing to say about European hostels) and I had no issues with anything else in the hostel. It was a fine place to stay, especially if you’re interested in having an easy place to stay after a long night of drinking – but if you want to have your peace and quiet, with more than three hours of sleep, then you will want to choose elsewhere, away from the surrounding district.
I was graciously offered a three night free stay at the Dublin Barnacles as part of the TBEX (travel writer/blogger/media) Conference – which was very nice of the Barnacles crew! This hostel was also located in the busy, drinking district of Dublin – fondly enough, it’s right above the infamous Temple Bar pub. When I arrived, I cringed, thinking that I would have absolutely no sleep for the next three days, but since the building is so old, built with thick brick, the sound wasn’t too awful and sleep came relatively easy for me each night. You could obviously hear a bit of racket from the pub-goers throughout the night, but it really wasn’t too bad. The hostel was quite basic inside, and much more lax with the cleaning upkeep than the Galway location, to be honest. It has a nice common room and a full-range kitchen, which was the only place that the internet seemed to work, which incidentally forced me out of my shell, to be seen by the light of day and my fellow hostel-goers – so that was probably for the best, really, because lately, I seem to cramp myself up in my room, where I stay working for hours each day (because running this blog thing takes a whole lot more time and effort than a lot of people probably realize)
All in all, this review may sound mostly cynical, but you were warned prior to reading this article that I much prefer my comfort and my peace and quiet, but in reality, the Barnacles hostels are solid places to stay, as their locations are very, very central and overall, they’re pretty comfortable and clean (mostly).