THREE young friends who cycled 80 kilometres before climbing Ireland’s highest mountain for charity were left devastated after a hostel in a leading tourist town turned them away for being “late”.
Atrocious weather conditions during Saturday’s Bike and Hike charity event delayed Sheena Yolzari, 24, and her friends Jennifer Ahern and Derek Harrington, from checking in at the Súgán Hostel in Killarney before its 9pm deadline.
Earlier that day, the friends from Cork were among a large group which completed a seven-hour cycle from the city to Killarney.
They then battled gale force winds and driving rain to climb Carrauntoohill to raise funds for the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) and the Mercy Hospital Foundation.
They were cold, exhausted, hungry and drenched when they finally made it off the mountain and on to a bus at 9.55pm for a spin back to Killarney.
They were looking forward to a relaxing hot shower at the hostel which boasts about its “warmth and friendliness”.
“The Súgán Hostel staff will ensure your stay in Killarney is fun-filled, comfortable and especially memorable,” it says on a website.
Despite having paid a booking deposit for beds, and ringing the hostel to inform them that they would be arriving soon, a hostel worker who answered refused to let them in, saying they had missed the check-in deadline.
The group tried to explain why they were late, but Sheena claimed the man wouldn’t listen.
“We were desperate. This shouldn’t have happened. They shouldn’t have turned us away but it worked out better for us in the long-run,” Sheena said.
She phoned her mother, Mairead McCorley, who tried to find alternative accommodation.
“But how do you find a place in Killarney at that hour of the night?” Mairead said.
She said she could not believe how the group had been treated.
“They were in awful state,” she said.
Mairead managed to speak directly to the hostel owner at 11.30pm who agreed to let the group stay.
But by then the Irish Heart Foundation had found them a room in the Malton Hotel.
“The Irish Heart Foundation could not have been nicer,” Sheena said.
Sheena, who is working in Barry’s of Douglas during her college break, and her friends raised €850 for the IHF. She is planing to climb Kilimanjaro for charity in September.
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