COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Stay up to date with the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.   Learn More >

Ireland driving vacation

Old Apr 13th, 2014, 07:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 2
Ireland driving vacation

My husband and I have booked a 7-night trip to Ireland in mid-June, where we plan to pick up a rental car in Dublin and embark on a driving tour. We would like to have flexibility on when and where to stop for the night. What are our chances of being able to find nice lodgings without reservations? Are we better off to make reservations? We would like to visit the areas of Cork, Kerry and Limerick, then return to Dublin. Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated!
ortola is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2014, 07:42 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 35
We traveled by car throughout Ireland several years ago. I think you are always better off with reservations well in advance. That being said, you can travel without reservations made far in advance. We used a B & B reference guide and called just a day or two in advance. We never had a problem. Waiting to the last minute may limit your choices. Once you have an idea where you intend to be, make your reservation as soon as practicable.
CaWino is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2014, 07:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,981
We traveled Ireland without reservations and only had trouble once, but it was spring not summer and that might make a difference.
cd is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2014, 08:15 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,086
The ONLY time I ever make reservations anywhere is if I will be arriving somewhere late at night. Otherwise I ALWAYS wing it. I have yet to have to sleep on a park bench.

Most people make reservations, no doubt about that. The primary reason for doing so is of course fear. The primary disadvantage to doing so is being locked in to an itinerary.

Some(most) travellers are tourists in the original sense of the word. Think about it, if you have reservations, then you are in fact on a 'tour'. Whether you book them yourself or travel with a tour company, it's still a tour. On Monday you will be in A and on Tuesday in B etc. That's what 'tourists' do.

But not all travellers are tourists on a tour. If you want the freedom that a tour cannot give you then you cannot book ahead. It is as simple as that. So since you say you want that freedom (which I applaud), there is no point in asking the question about reservations. Forget about them except for the first night in Dublin.

People will try to argue that 'tourist' and traveller' are synonymous but that is true in only one aspect. They both visit places. There are other aspects however in which they differ. A major difference is in having reservations and a planned itinerary.

Here is how the difference works. You are somewhere and speak to someone. They tell you of an event of some kind that really interests you. You respond with either A: 'Oh, that sounds so great but we have a non-refundable within 48 hours reservation in X tomorrow night and so we can't go.' B: 'Wow, that's for us, know any good hotels or B&B's nearby?'

You might never get to Limerick, so what? Itineraries and reservations put blinders on you to opportunities. Limerick (or wherever) will still be there next year. That opportunity you passed up on might not.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2014, 11:37 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,842
Standard answer... As a Couple with no preconceived requirements above a clean bed and a good Breakfast then it's fine to wing it a little

Winging it the t2p way. or how we tour

Book the 1st and last nights. Pin a Michelin 712 map on an empty wall. Decide any must see places and pin them. work out some stepping stones(towns) on a rough route. get a list of 3 guest houses and 1 hotel for these potential places. email the hotels and ask if there are (1) any events or festivals locally on your possible dates. (2) if the hotel is doing any special offers on your possible dates. Talk to your host and ask in the local pub what's worth seeing. Phone ahead at breakfast for the evening accommodation. Only book one night at once, if the place is good or there's things to do and see within a 30mile radius book an extra night.

Tourist Information Bureau are great and will always find you a bed for the night. Provided there is one available and of course provided they are open! not much fun knocking on doors at 6pm.

Of course you don't have to visit every place on your list but having a few numbers is better than knocking on doors ..
Tony2phones is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2014, 12:01 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 66,875
dul_sex: You pull out that same drivel over and over. Do you ever get tired of lecturing. We already know how superior you/your way of traveling are . . .

ortola: w/ just a couple you don't need to pre-book in most places. But as Tony says, do some research to see if there are any festivals/special events in the areas during your dates, because that can make a HUGE difference. Some music/folk festivals do book things up months in advance.

I'd definitely book the first night. And the last before flying out.

It is also good to book or at least have a list of possibilities in any towns you definitely 100% want to visit.

But w/ only a two people (and being flexible re amenities/budget/type of room0 you should be fine in most places.
janisj is online now  
Old Apr 13th, 2014, 01:24 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 2
Thank you all so much for your input. I agree that first and last night we will book, and be prepared with some options for the towns we plan to stay in. Seems like a reasonable plan.
ortola is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2014, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 6,392
I may be in the minority, but with only 7 days I'd have a plan and reservations. I wouldn't want to spend precious time standing in a tourist office looking for a bed.

With a plan, you can roll into town and head right to your B&B. I say this because Ireland is so interesting that you will want to stop and take a look quite often. Just an example: We were headed to Westport, stopped so many places that we didn't get into town until 6pm. It was a relief to know where we were staying, get settled, and head out to a dinner suggested by the B&B. Same thing when we arrived in Kinsale, Kenmare, or Dingle. We could take our time, get lost(which happens a lot) and not have a challenge facing us when we got there.

Cork, Kerry, Limerick is much ground to cover in 7 days---have a plan.
TPAYT is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2014, 04:21 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 6,392
I just saw janisj's comment about festivals/events. When we drove into Westport at 6pm we found our B&B easily. Within a few minutes all the streets were closed for a road rally. Had we arrived a few minutes later we would have had a hard time getting to our B&B much less finding one in a town packed with road rally people.

We learned our lesson about reservations one time in Italy when we left the last night open "to find something cute." The desk girls laughed out loud as there was a race and no accommodations within 200 miles.

Just sayin'!
TPAYT is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2014, 04:32 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
I don;t think fear is the reason for booking in advance.

There are several reasons

1) Wanting specific amenities
2) Wanting to keep within a specific budget
3) Not wanting to waste limited vacation time looking for a place to stay each afternoon

We always book in advance - why go through the hassle when you're in the middle of a trip.

And June might be crowded in some places - check for specific festivals or activities that may be happening when you want to be somewhere.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2014, 04:44 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 49
I love planning the vacation almost as much as the vacation itself!
Labattlovr is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2014, 06:57 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 986
I like the planning, also. Plus my arthritic knees appreciate b&b's with ground-floor rooms, and we often try to find triple rooms. Hard to do on the fly.
jaja is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2014, 12:35 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,842
This is why as my regular recommendation for winging it...

Book 1st and Last nights.

Have a list of Accommodation with More than 5 bedrooms (A Guest House in Ireland is a B&B with 5 or more letting rooms)

Find out if there are any Festivals in Potential locations.

If moving on Phone around Breakfast for that nights accommodation. (you will have a list of phone numbers)

Planning is part of the fun agreed.. Over planning is a curse and some of us actually like a bit of spontaneity..

Of course the danger is that some people will arrive find the 1st place that all their neighbours have photo's of and just rather blikeredly think its the only place in Ireland worth seeing... (and there was I not aiming to talk about Dingle)
Tony2phones is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2014, 07:20 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,086
How ever many reasons to reserve people come up with, none of them have anything whatsoever to do with maintaining the freedom to decide what to do on a given day at will.

People are always quick to say why they think you should reserve and then totally ignore why you might not want to. There are advantages and disadvantages to anything.

If you book, you lose freedom. If you don't book, you might indeed spend an hour finding a room. The question is which is more important to you.

If you are a typical tourist who plans to follow a 'tour' then reservations won't affect that negatively at all. So go ahead. But if you wish to travel freely without any restrictions on what you decide to do each morning when you wake up or when you come across something along the way, then reservations WILL indeed adversely affect that.

Funnily enough, you all seem to see festivals/events as possibly being a negative in regards to spontaneous travel. My experience has been just the opposite.

If I arrive somewhere and some event is going on that is of interest to me, that is a prime reason to decide to STOP. If you are enroute from A to C and come across an event going on in B, you can't stop. You have to get to C because you have a reservation. That is the negative in my opinion.

If you travel with reservations, you may have an opinion on what travelling without them would mean but in fact it's just an opinion based on NO or little actual experience. I always travel without reservations and my opinion is based on a LOT of experience doing so. There is no hassle as far as I am concerned.

I will say again, I've never had to sleep on a park bench in decades of reservation free travel. If you want to give up the freedom an itinerary imposes on you then that is your decision to make but don't try to say it is BETTER than having that freedom. That's ludicrious.

Being free to decide what to do on a whim is always going to be better than any self-imposed restriction you put in the way. That simply isn't arguable. That you don't believe you can do so is another story. Yes nytraveler, it is indeed a fear, an unsubstantiated fear of the unknown.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2014, 11:53 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 58
"Being free to decide what to do on a whim is always going to be better than any self-imposed restriction you put in the way. That simply isn't arguable. That you don't believe you can do so is another story. Yes nytraveler, it is indeed a fear, an unsubstantiated fear of the unknown"

While I don't think ortola will have any problem travelling around Ireland and winging it your comment here is a bit of an exaggeration. There are times when reserving ahead (not just late arrival) is the best way to go and not because of unsubstantiated fear. For example: I'm visiting the Cuckoo Fleadh in Kinvara on the upcoming May Bank holiday weekend (May 2nd to the 5th). I knew I wanted to stay in Kinvara for three nights to fully enjoy this festival. I also knew that if I waited too long and didn't reserve well in advance I might not have a place to stay. So I reserved lodging well in advance and sure enough once it got to within a month the place is banged out with not an available room to be found. That is not an unsubstantiated fear it is a very real fear at times. I can think of other examples.

So once again you've got an overall good point but take it a bit over the top.
markan is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2014, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,832
I LOVE travel planning; poring over guidebooks and TripAdvisor, etc. is a huge pleasure for me. I also plan my driving days to be very short (3 hours max) so that I can stop whenever the whim overtakes me, and still be sure of having a reserved, comfortable place to sleep that night. I don't think that makes me a "typical tourist", or a fearful one, for that matter, as dulcius seems to imply.
azzure is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2014, 01:23 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,842
Try finding a room in Dublin when Garth Brooks is concerting! Or the Nota Dame Games are on,, And Dublin isn't exactly short on accommodation. So Yes Festivals and Events do need consideration
Tony2phones is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2014, 02:50 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,086
First, let us agree that the OP can carry on planning their trip to Ireland with no need for reservations beyond perhaps the first and last night simply for convenience.

It that is the case then we can carry on a debate with 'no harm, no foul' to the OP.

Markan, you say there are times when reservations are a necessity and give your example in Kinvara. Now tell me how you know that the 'place is banged out' nearly a month before the event?

I don't want to hear you looked online and can't find a bed to rent. I want to know how you KNOW there is not a bed to rent and will not be when the event is going on.

The fact is you THINK there will not be a bed to rent. I think there will. Can you PROVE I am wrong any more than I can prove you are wrong? You can't ask someone to prove an unknown.

I'll say again, if people have little or no experience of travelling without reservations they can have an opinion about what that will mean but it's simply an opinion. I have a lot of experience of travelling without reservations and my opinion differs from your opinion.

You don't have to agree with my opinion but you cannot say, 'there will not be a room to rent'. Your opinion does not translate automatically into a fact simply because you believe it.

I could be wrong in my opinion and there will not be a room to rent but I CAN say, it has never happened to me yet. By the way, a quick look right now for Kinvara on May 2-5 on says there are rooms available (4) in the Merriman Hotel in Kinvara and countless others within 20km. Check for yourself if you like.

I can't help what you believe to be true. I can only tell you what I have experienced.

Tony2phones, tell me you're kidding when you say you believe there is any night of any year when there is not a room to be found in Dublin whether Garth Brooks is concerting or not.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2014, 02:52 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,086
Wow, that's a ridiculously long link. But it works. LOL
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2014, 07:28 PM
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 34 or is your friend
krejaton is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information