Hostel Connect opened its doors in August 2013 in conjunction with the Fleadh Cheoil 2013, which was held here in Derry that year. Jonny and Tommy the two owners, at the time owned the cafe that is below the hostel (called Cafe Connect at the time), saw an opportunity to possibly convert the building above into a small hostel. With very little other than an idea, they set out to see if they could get funding for their project. Their landlord, Ernest Howie, stepped up and agreed to loan them the money to finance the project; and construction began in May of that year. The two rallied their friends to help with the renovation, and the team completed the renovation days before the start of the Fleadh.
The building prior to the hostel was an old architect’s office for 40 years, and you will notice some architecture relics throughout the hostel. Before that it acted as a bakery and we think possibly a pool hall. In 1970, before acting as an architect’s office, there were a number of separate terrace houses behind the building which were then joined together along with some new additions to make the current space. We have completely renovated the building but have tried to keep its quirkiness and some of its history.
We have had many set backs over the years, but we continue the struggle and try to make improvements to hostel every year.
The hostel can accommodate 67 people and is laid out over 2 floors totally 600 sq meters. We have 10 bedrooms consisting of two 15 bed mixed dorms, 9 bed mixed dorm, 6 bed mixed dorm, 6 bed female dorm, a private family room (king and triple bunk), a private king/double room, two private double rooms, and a private twin room. Each room is named after the funky colour that it has been painted! We have lovingly brought back the original wooden floors throughout most of the hostel adding a great ambience. The hostel also boasts and huge common room where you can chill and hang out.
For a glimpse at of how it began, check out some of the renovation photos below.
Jonny and Tommy would like to thank everyone that helped make the hostel what it is today, without you it would not have happened