Yes, I've made it!
My flight touched the ground, but all I've seen was grey and grey!
I arrived early in the morning in Dublin on a September day. It was my first time in Dublin and just two days earlier, I was still enjoying beach life on Mauritius. I had no time to find really out how to get into Dublin and how to get to my hostel.
Just having hand luggage I went straigth to the exit and followed the bus signs. Yes! Right at the same moment I arrived at the bus stop, an Express Bus stopped and got me for € 6 into the city centre. Why did I consider to take the taxi earlier?
After a short ride I've arrived in the area Temple Bar and I knew this is where I'll find my hostel, which was easy to find as it is well known by the people who are working in the city center. After a warm welcome, I had a quick tour.
Barnacles Hostel is not really a party hostel, as there is no bar in the hostel itself. And it is still known as a party hostel, as just 30 steps further is the well known and so often photographed "Temple Bar". But the whole area is full with nightlife and many options to enjoy a few Guiness till early into the morning hours.
The location of the hostel is for sure one of several reasons why many traveler choose to stay there. The hostel itself is quite simple and doesn't stand out compared to others in Europe. There is a common kittchen, where a very simple breakfast is offered and included in the room/bed price. The common room provides also the usual standard of hostels nowadays. There are two computers with free internet. WiFi is as well available for free, but only in the common room area and not in the rooms. The speed was not fascinating and uploading a simple photo onto Twitter failed permanently. There is a TV and as well a Playstation (or was it another console?).
I've stayed in a double room and it offered all what you would find as well in a hotel, from towels, shower and body gel. The room was right beneath the roof with a small window in the roof. Annoying was that there was no curtain for it, which helped to wake up early in the morning. But I'm sure that this was an exception and will get fixed soon.
So from these perspectives, Barnacles is a good average hostel and still it was awarded to be Dublin's most popular and Ireland's Best Hostel (2013). The reviews on several hostel booking sites were throughout positive and travelers seem to really like it. I haven't stayed for long and also had not much time during the day to experience Barncles Hostel deeper, I asked one of the staff what the reason is for the popularity. Her answer was very short "The staff".
I actually had expected a longer reply, but it was all I needed. Yes, the few talks with the staff I had was very positive, helpful and fun. It was not an 'acted service', no, it happened in a natural and authentic friendliness.
This makes the different!
Imagine a hostel with whirl pool, games room, bar terrace and many other luxurious amenities, which is nowadays not even uncommon for hostels around the world. Sure, those things are nice to have, but what if such a hostel got grumpy staff? I'm sure that you would then as well prefer to stay in a bit simpler hostel, where you just have a good vibe and know that you could even end up talking to the guys working there for a bit longer. And exactly that is what makes me come back to hostels again and again. Many hotels have that distance to their guests.
The Barnacles Hostel can not compete with other hostels in Europe, when talking about facilities. I haven't stayed in other hostels in Dublin or Ireland so far, so that I can't say how their standard is. But I've heard from other travelers, that quite a few actually are in a bad condition and only a handful other hostels provide a similar standard like Barnacles. From the warm welcome and the few very nice conversations I've experienced, I would choose to stay with Barnacles Hostel right away again. Also the central location is for sure a big plus.
Prices: Dormitory from € 12pp | 4 bed room from € 19.50pp | Twin/double from € 30pp
Find their presentation her: Barnacles Temple Bar House