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Tourists cash in as college rooms start at €20 a night

TOURISTS can stay in accommodation on the historic grounds of Trinity College in the heart of the city for a bargain price.

The halls, usually reserved for students in a number of colleges during the academic year, have been opened for visitors to Dublin, Galway, Cork and Maynooth.

Over 9,000 rooms are spread across the country's university campuses in key cities and towns and are proving a competitive alternative to hotels.



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MUSA, the organisation responsible for selling summer accommodation at the colleges, is stepping up its attempts to lure the tourist market this year.

Manager of Maynooth Conference Centre Bill Tinley, who coordinates the service, said that gone are the days of grubby student rooms or dingy bedsits -- almost all are state-of-the-art ensuite rooms in prime locations.

And the rooms are refreshed every year once the students leave at the end of term.

"The older rooms are quite spacious," he said. "For example, if you book in NUI Maynooth you could have rooms overlooking the historic grounds including Silken Thomas's tree -- reported to be the oldest tree in Ireland.

"A lot of people have no idea that you can actually stay on the campus of Trinity College in the middle of the city centre."

And visitors can take advantage of the facilities onsite such as swimming pools, climbing wall and fitness centres.

Although room rates vary, depending on location and the type of accommodation available, they start from as little as €20 per night at some colleges.

Mr Tinley also said rates are set at the beginning of the season, and aren't bumped for festivals, gigs or sporting events.

"Regardless of what's on, the prices will stay the same," he said. "We've had people staying in Maynooth and getting the train to Dublin for the Take That concert."

Although the majority of rooms are in the form of single accommodations, some double-room options and children's cots are available as well.



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In addition, MUSA is hoping to capitalise on the sector's experience in organising educational conferences to attract the business market as it has up to 600 meeting rooms

Corporate groups could consider the university campus as a location for a large event, combining state-of-the-art conference facilities with accommodation, Mr Tinley said.

More details are available at Irelandinsummer.com

clairemurphy@herald.ie


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