Perhaps you’ve spent a reading week travelling in Europe, or you may have plans to go to North America over the summer on a J1 visa. You may even have been too busy to travel at all but are looking for a break. This weekend, if you don’t have plans, there’s a lull in assignments, or your laundry hasn’t piled up enough that you need to go home again just yet, why not get out and explore close to home. Grab that student ID and kiss your empty Saturday goodbye, because Life has the scoop on steps to taking a cheap weekend away in Ireland.
“The first essential step of travelling is transportation, and for that, Iarnród Éireann has your back.”
The first essential step of travelling is transportation, and for that, Iarnród Éireann has your back. Going around Ireland by train is cheap and flexible with student round trip tickets with Irish Rail. Trains run from the Heuston or Connolly stations in Dublin to most major cities and towns, where you can take buses locally if the need be, and the DART connects Dublin city centre with the more local, east coast of Ireland. With tickets from Dublin costing between €7 and and €16 for a trip to Cork or Galway, it is certainly more affordable than a flight.
Next, you’ll need accomodation and you can’t beat An Oige prices. While you may have a few friends to stay with in other countries, staying in a hostel gives you the opportunity to meet new people. A membership with the Irish Youth Hostel Association is worth a ten percent discount for any hostel booked through their website, along with other travel discounts and accommodation bargains, such as cheaper tour bookings. An Oige is connected with hostels from Donegal to Cork and everywhere in between. In addition, the membership extends to thousands of hostels across Europe. The best part is that membership is free to residents of the Republic of Ireland who stay in one of the An Oige hostels.
“Hit up each of those places within a year, and the Heritage Card has already paid for itself.”
So far you have a set of wheels and a roof over your head, so all that’s left to plan is an itinerary. Here to save the day is the Heritage Card: it’s not a hot topic these days, but for only €10 a year, students can gain access to historic sites across Ireland. There are castles and abbeys aplenty to be investigated in every county. Have a weekend picnic at Dunmore Cave in Kilkenny, or hit the high seas and visit Dún Aonghasa on the Aran Islands. This card is even more worthwhile for students in Dublin, as it offers access to several local landmarks, including Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol, the Casino at Marino, and Farmleigh. Hit up each of those places within a year, and the Heritage Card has already paid for itself. But don’t stop there! A complete list of sites where the Heritage Card can be used is available on the Heritage Ireland website, as well as the sites where you can purchase a Heritage Card. All you need now is a suitcase and some friends for the journey!