An Óige is founded by an organising committee which includes Thekla Beere, Shane Bodkin, and Chalmers (Terry) Trench. Its first youth hostel is opened at Lough Dan, near Roundwood, in County Wicklow. An Óige is formed as a membership-based organisation and is now a member of Hostelling International.
An Óige, the Irish Youth Hostel Association, has a number of charitable aims. These include to support a “love and appreciation of the countryside” by providing “simple hostel accommodation for [people] whilst on their travels,” to foster an appreciation of Irish culture and heritage, to co-operate with Irish organisations which seek to preserve the countryside and walking routes, and to foster associations with similar organisations in other countries.
As of 2017, the organisation operates 24 youth hostels in the Republic of Ireland. In May 2019, An Oige closes the Dublin International Youth Hostel, which is then its main/headquarters facility and reportedly accounts for 60% of its revenue at the time. By late 2019, An Óige is running eighteen hostels, with franchise rights to a further ten. During 2020, all hostels remain closed as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland.
An Óige is a registered charitable organization in Ireland.
(Pictured: An Óige’s headquarters hostel, on Mountjoy Street in Dublin, closed in 2019)