Modern, clean, safe, and with a certain cheerful vibe thrown in for good measure, Ashfield is an excellent hostel situated a stone's throw from just about everywhere you'd like to visit in Dublin. In terms of price, location and facilities, this is hard to beat.
- Neil Hegarty, Destination expert
The location is first class. The hostel is one minute's walk from the river Liffey, from Trinity College, from Temple Bar – and it's not much further to the city's array of shopping and cultural districts. Excellent public transport links: bus stops just outside, including links to the airport; a rail station at Tara Street around the corner; with Connolly mainline rail station a ten-minute walk; and LUAS (tram) links nearby too. There's no parking – but in such a location, you really don't need a car.
Style & character
Ashfield has a combination of plainness and funkiness about it – the latter exemplified in the cartoon-esque illustrations of Irish personages adorning the walls. It certainly feels distinctive: no chain vibe here. Of course you should expect a certain low-maintenance style, with lots of wipe-clean surfaces – this is not a luxury hotel. But it's done well and thoughtfully.
Service & facilities
Very good. There's an array of services on offer, including the all-important lockers (lots), free linen, free luggage storage and heaps of information from the perky staff on what to do and where to go. The hostel runs its own walking tours of Dublin, and its own pub crawls too, both of which are a good way of making friends and connections. You can also sign up for coach trips elsewhere in Ireland. Lots of books and board games available, to add to the sociable vibe. No laundry, alas. No curfew.
A wide variety, ranging from private doubles to large 16-bed dorms suitable for groups; and a choice of female and mixed rooms. Don’t expect masses of space or fabulously comfortable beds – but rooms are clean and safe, with bright illustrated wallpaper and duvet covers to add a dash of colour. All rooms are en-suite, and towels may be rented for a minimal charge. No lockers in the rooms, but the bedheads are most handy, incorporating as they do mobile phone sockets and reading lights. In such a central location, a degree of night-time noise is likely: the hostel supplies earplugs, which suggests an awareness of this issue. Ask for a back room to help minimise noise.
Food & drink
Many hostels are moving towards a no self-catering model, but not Ashfield: a nicely equipped and relatively spacious kitchen is available – so feel free to cook. There's a pleasant eating area, where a more-than-decent buffet breakfast (included in the price) is served each day – think cereals, yogurts, eggs, toast and jam, tea and coffee – plus generously accommodating hours (7.30am-10.30am). No other meals are served.
Value for money
Double rooms from €80 (£71), year-round; dorm beds from €18 (£16), year-round. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Family-friendly, but note the hostel’s (very reasonable) stipulation that children under 16 will be accommodated in private rooms only.