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Castle Hostel

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Hostelz.com's Review
Castle Hostel is a clean, quiet, and modern hostel. It is also quite small, and the owners and their elderly relatives are a constant presence. If you are used to normal hostels where the common spaces are for the use of guests, this may not be the place for you.

The Location

The hostel is centrally located on the main street right in the heart of downtown Tralee, close to everything a visitor might want. It is about a five-minute walk from both the bus and train stations. There are many pubs and eateries in the immediate neighborhood, as well as food shops and local attractions.

Rooms and Bathrooms

This hostel was recently converted from a bed and breakfast and is tastefully furnished and decorated. Rooms are clean and bright; each bunk has fresh linen and a towel is provided free. Many bunks have nightstands with small lamps, which is a nice touch. Each room locks, but note that storage lockers are located in a separate area of the hostel, not in the dorm rooms. Bathrooms are clean, bright, and modern with excellent hot water and water pressure.

Oddly, they charge an extra fee for a bunk in the dorm if you walk in or book directly with them; the fee is more than if you book through a hostel-booking site. Their explanation that "those sites charge a booking fee" makes little sense; this was an annoyance upon check-in. Upon conferring with other guests, it appears that fees are somewhat arbitrary according to the mood of the owner.

Common Spaces

There are two common spaces in this hostel, both of which are clean and inviting -- a comfortable sitting room with two small couches and a TV as well as a dining area with bar stools for eating and socializing. Expect, though, to share these with the owner and his older family members. They are constantly in the in the lounge, crashing about in the kitchen, talking loudly on the phone, and/or hogging the television. They will come in and turn the TV on when a guest might prefer not to have it on; the TV seems to always be tuned to loud, trashy, American shows like "Judge Judy." There is really no place for a guest to get strong Wi-Fi and also avoid the TV and/or the owners, since it's such a small place. But with no Wi-Fi in the dorms, there is little choice if you need to get online to do bookings or other internet business.

There does not seem to be any awareness that travelers might not want to be in such close, constant contact with the owners -- it sometimes feels like one is intruding on their living space. On our visit, an elderly relative's purse was left sitting on the kitchen counter -- a big concern for travelers -- who wants to be accused of anything if she lost her wallet? Despite alerting the owner about the purse, it was left there, then the woman spent thirty minutes banging around the kitchen making herself a cup of tea. As paying guests, we simply had to wait, stomachs growling, almost an hour for her to get her purse and leave so we could have our turn in the tiny kitchen to prepare dinner. She was there again in the morning, blocking access to the stove making breakfast for herself while guests were trying to eat and check out in time for their trains and other bookings.

There is a small book exchange. The hostel offers a free continental breakfast, which includes several types of cereal, milk, toast, jam, and butter. Free tea and coffee are available twenty-four hours a day and a self-catering kitchen is available for guest use.


Overall, this is a nice place, but the owners and their elderly kin are a constant presence and it often feels like you are intruding upon their living space. We would not recommend for anyone under the age of fifty or so.

Exclusive Hostelz.com Review
April 2012

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How is Castle Hostel rated on other websites?
Not listed on HostelsClub.
Castle Hostel Reviews from the Web
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
5   Very good place to stay. I stayed at the Castle in 2008 and 2009 Good, clean kitchen; clean bathrooms and dorms as well. Friendly staff, The Castle is well worth its 20 Euros per night charge. Near to the must-see museum with its extensive life-sized exhibit of Tralee in the medieval times -- 6.50 Euros admission for concession rate. Surrounding the museum is Tralee's marvelous large municipal park, mostly rose garden.  , U.S.A. ()

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