Cycling Malin Head to Mizen this summer... Camping or Hostels?

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by barnesy, 16 Apr 2010.

  1. barnesy

    barnesy Well-Known Member


    Last summer i set out from belfast cycling 800 miles around ireland tightly hugging the coast clockwise and i returned home from Galway.

    I cycled on average 65-70 miles per day and camped each evening in my cheap argos 1 man tent. The weather was lovely and i enjoyed the peacefulness of camping.

    This year i am going to cycle irelands end to end.

    I know i can shed quite a few kilos without my camping gear and it would be nice to be able to change/dry my clothes.

    Would people recommend camping or staying in b&bs/hostels?

    The camping would be cheaper, but not by all that much, maybe 10 euro a night cheaper than hostels.

    Benefits i see of camping are that i enjoyed the freedom of it, i actually became quite attached to my tent and enjoyed putting it up and living in it.

    I didnt interact with many people, but i was okay with that, i dont mind being on my own.

    The obvious benefits of hostels are less weight and added comfort. However they can be more expensive and take me away form the connection of cycle touring?

    Also i wouldnt want to show up to find that its full, so i would need to book ahead of time. This would be okay but what if i have a bad day or get lost and cant make my destination, or if i have a good day and feel i can keep going another few towns.

    What do people think?
  2. ChrisBailey

    ChrisBailey Well-Known Member

    Hampton Hill, UK

    No idea about camping, wouldn't know whether to advise for or against. However, last year I cycled from Malin to Mizen. A ride organised by Gearoid Pierse, an Irish cyclist I met in Hong Kong two years earlier. We used hostels the whole way, it's well documented in his journal, it may help you to decide.
  3. I would stick with camping if I were you, provided you are happy carrying the extra stuff required it gives you much more freedom and flexibility in terms of where to stop each night, and you will get much better nights' sleep in your own tent than in some cramped dorm with snorers etc.
    The only real plus side of hostels is the social side in that you can generally meet more folk to chat to.
    Best of both world's is to try and find hostels which will allow you to camp in their garden, not sure how common that is in Ireland though.
  4. Dormouse

    Dormouse New Member

    The main downside to staying in hostels is snoring in the dorms, so take ear plugs if that is what you decide to do. Upsides over camping are that you can wash and dry your gear overnight and avoid the midges.

    Why not plan on phoning ahead around midday when you know how well you are doing etc.
  5. aberal

    aberal Senior Member

    Do both. Pick and choose depending on how you feel and what the weather is like and how good the facilities are be they hostel or camp site. Weight is irrelevant. The upside of camping is the freedom as you say, but it's chucking it down and blowing a gale who needs it? The downside is that you don't interact with people as much as you do in hostels and B&B's where a hot shower and a good breakfast and a bit of the crack can do wonders. Take your tent and enjoy the best of both worlds.

    +1 for the earplugs idea though.
  6. shirokazan

    shirokazan Veteran

    +1 to aberal's sentiments. Take the tent and make your mind up on the day (assuming there's last minute availability at the hostels).
  7. OP

    barnesy Well-Known Member

    Ahh you were part of the group? I have read this journal dozens of times, cycled some of the same roads last year and im going to be following this one pretty much exactly.

    Cant wait for the gap of dunloe and molls gap.

    I might have a few questions on hostels you stayed in as i will be finishing in the same towns?

    I like the idea of hostels to give me a chance to wash and dry my clothes, also to sit and read a book inside in the warmth.

    I camped every night last year and they were mainly camp sites, some farmers fields on occasion. In dingle though i stayed in a garden out the back of the hostel, the people in the hostel were paying over 20 euro and i was paying 5 and i could use all their facilities that night.

    Im not sure what to do now, i feel that camping brings you more freedom and closer to the experience although i can see what yous are saying about meeting people on the way.

    Im not too worried about the snoring, after a hard days cycling nothing can stop me sleeping
  8. ChrisBailey

    ChrisBailey Well-Known Member

    Hampton Hill, UK
    The Gap of Dunloe and Molls Gap were the best cycling I have encountered in Ireland and almost anywhere else.

    Feel free to ask any questions. I'll try and dig up the hostel list.
  9. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Meanwood, Leeds
    The choice is entirely a personal one. Only you can assess the pros and cons as they apply to you. Would you consider asking a group of strangers to choose a vegetarian or a meat based diet and abide by the group advice?

    Look at your list of pros and cons and make your decision based on that.

    That how I decided to use a tent for accommodation needs for all of my cycle tours.
  10. ChrisBailey

    ChrisBailey Well-Known Member

    Hampton Hill, UK
    I e-mailed Gearoid to see if he still has the notes on the hostels and got this response.

    Have updated the site with some details on where we stayed.

    Unfortunately I see the hostel in Omagh closed......
    The three main websites for hostels are: (comes with music so don't access at work!)


    Hope this helps, just to repeat, if camping is your aim, don't let me dissuade you.
  11. OP

    barnesy Well-Known Member

    Yeah im not asking people to make the descision for me, just to advise on their past experiences, i did love camping last year, thought i could try something different this year. I also see the one in Omagh is closed, however i think there is another one close which could work.

    It could also be alot faster, putting up my tent and setting my sleeping area up would take half and hour and then half an hour again in the morning.
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