In the town of Doolin, a surf, sailing, and traditional music hub in Co. Clare, we locate a wonderful place to stay for the low-key traveler. It is the Aille River Hostel. Situated on the edge of the Aille River, it has all the amenities of home for a tiny price.
The hostel has been alive for 20 years and is a stopping ground for traditional musicians, artists, and backpackers passing through Doolin. It has a communal feel that attracts seekers of free living. Architecturally, it has several common rooms with large wooden tables where the world gathers. A couple backpacking from Spain can share a word, a meal, and a laugh with American mom and daughter cycling duo. Round the table are woven rocking chairs for the wayward guitarist hitchhiking the coast, and stools for the studious young initiates to budget traveling. All can study the collection of maps and guidebooks and exchange information about their travels. Round these tables is where you learn the best information, what isn't in the books.
Emily, the friendly woman working at the hostel, told us about a hike to The Cliffs of Moher. It is along the goat trails near the edge, over barbed wire fences and past abandoned houses. It goes right up to the cliffs.
The hostel has a self-catering kitchen with all kinds of pots and pans for cooking up delicious food and baked goodies, just like at home. It also has refrigerator and shelf space to house your fixings. It has tea free to travelers, so make up a hot pot and take it river side for a quiet sit. A beautiful Irish setter puppy with the whitest teeth and boisterous attitude hangs about the river, waiting to play. After being on the road and away from animals for a while, playing with a dog can be just the thing to revive the spirit.
Other perks: free showers and private bathrooms for guests. Aillwee River Hostel has free internet access. To freshen up your clothes, use the free washer. The dryer is 2 euro or sundry clean clothes on the line out back.
Accommodations: Camping with use of hostel facilities is 7.50 euro per person, dormitory rooms for 4-8 people beds are 15 euro pp, and private rooms are 20 euro pp. The hostel is closed during January and February. Camping is allowed only during the summer months because during winter, the river floods and the winds pick up; tents have blown into the river. For other questions email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Liz O' Malley - Summer of Travel 2007