Belfast was another place that we attempted to trade advertising for a room and we are glad we did. We didn’t know what to expect when we pitched up late to Paddy’s Palace, just in time before Emma left for the night, but it wasn’t the lovely two room apartment they had waiting for us.
While we relaxed on the comfortable sofas and made coffee in a kitchen better kitted out than our own, we reflected that Emma’s accent gave away that she wasn’t local to Ireland. In fact she was from very far away.
Father Ted tries to explain Australians and New Zealanders to Father Dougal: They are not small, they are from far away.
We asked Emma the terms of her role and she confirmed she was working for her stay. There is no longer any information on the Paddywagon website on this (I’m sure there was until recently, but I’ve looked at so many hostel sites lately I could be wrong) but an old advertisement we found placed by the Derry hostel suggest they provide free accommodation and breakfast and free bus tours of Ireland, along with hostel work experience in return, for three or four hours help per day.
If you are interested in working for your keep in Ireland I wouldn’t bother emailing or writing in to apply. This sort of thing is best arranged after you have stayed in one of their hostels for a few days and got your face known about the place. If they have work that needs doing there might be a you-shaped space available; but if not, there won’t.
(Update: Paddy’s now uses the HelpStay network to accept volunteers: https://helpstay.com/stays/Backpacker-Hostel-Belfast-Northern-Ireland)
Along with Belfast and Londonderry, Paddywagon have hostels in Dublin, Cork, Dingle Peninsula, Derry and Killarney.
Disclaimer: The Father Ted image does not belong to us. We, um, borrowed it.