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Hostel voted country’s best

Brian O’Neil and Marianne Maurer run the Rowan Tree Hostel.A NEWLY opened Ennis institution was this week named Ireland’s top hostel by a leading international website. The eighth annual Hoscars (Hostelworld Customer Annual Ratings) named three Clare establishments in the top four hostels in the country.
Hostelworld customers selected Ennis’s Rowan Tree Hostel as Ireland’s best hostel. While there has been a hostel on the Harmony Row site for a number of years, The Rowan Tree Hostel only opened last year after an extensive renovation and refurbishment of the existing building.
Marianne Maurer and her husband Brian O’Neil run the hostel and attended Tuesday night’s award ceremony in Dublin.
“We received a certificate and will be sent on a plaque recognising our achievement. We think this will be a huge benefit to us. We are only just open a year and hopefully, it will be good for the summer and bring more people to Ennis and the mid-west,” Marianne told The Clare Champion. 
The Ennis establishment knocked last year’s number one Aille River Hostel in Doolin into second place. This was followed by Kinlay House Hostel Galway. Sleepzone, The Burren, Cliffs of Moher came fourth followed by its sister hostel, Sleepzone Connemara.
More than one million Hostelworld.com customers voted in the 2009 awards in which the Portuguese city of Lisbon proved to yet again be the jewel in the crown for budget-conscious travellers. It boasts an astonishing five of the top 10 hostels worldwide. For the second year running, Lisbon’s Travellers’ House Hostel received the top honour when it was announced as the best hostel in the world.
Rossio Hostel and Lisbon Lounge hostel gave the popular backpacking destination an impressive one, two, three. 
Also featuring in the top 10 were hostels from Florence, Budapest, Krakow, Riga and nearby Cardiff.
Over 23,000 properties from across the globe featured on Hostelworld.com were eligible for the awards. The winning hostels were voted for by Hostelworld.com customers who booked their accommodation online and rated and reviewed the hostels after their stay in 2009 based on six criteria – character, security, location, staff, fun and cleanliness.
Alongside the top 10 hostels in the world, Hoscars were awarded for the top three hostels on each continent and categories including Best location, Most fun and Most improved.
The Hoscars took place in conjunction with Hostelworld.com’s sixth annual hostel conference and was attended by over 400 hostel owners, managers and industry professionals from around the world.

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