Irish b&b question

Old Mar 29th, 2004, 03:18 AM
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Irish b&b question

As we've(husband/mom & dad) been planning our 21 day trip to Ireland for this July, many people have told us to not "lock" ourselves into any b&b's. Rather, we've been advised to book them as we go along, in case we want to extend our visit in some areas. I'm concerned that since we are going in July, this may not be such a good idea. Can anyone offer any advise????? It's our first trip and we wouldn't want to end up sleeping in the car!
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 03:34 AM
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my informal observation, 3-4 years ago, is that just about every third home in Ireland is a B&B. Perhaps others who travel there, more, can shed better light on this, but I somehow do not think you will have problems. perhaps if you buy a B&B guide, to have many to choose from? many times folks who are booked send you to the lady up the road.
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 03:49 AM
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A lot depends on where you will be staying. If, for instance, you will be spending any time in Dublin, you definitely need to book in advance. If there are particular B&Bs or hotels where you have your heart set on staying, book ahead so you won't be disappointed. There are many B&B's all over Ireland, and Flygirl is correct, many will send you to a friend if they are booked themselves. We usually travel in the off-season and to less populated areas, so have no problems in general with booking. Since you are traveling in high season and will be needing two rooms, I would definintely book cities and special places in advance. Personally, I like to make my reservations in the morning for where I expect to end up that evening. This makes my husband nuts because he prefers to wing it. I don't think there's a perfect answer to your question, but I don't think you will sleep in the car!
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 03:54 AM
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I would reach out to the Irish Tourist Bureau in New York (they have a toll free number) and ask them to send you 3 books:

B&B's in Ireland
Farmhouse B&B's in Ireland
Guest Houses in Ireland (I think this one also includes hotels).

These will give you some ideas of what's available in the area. It's always nice to make reservations in certain areas where you know you are going to be staying and have a particular place you desire to spend the night, to ensure there is a room available -- two in your case.

July will be a busy time of the year, especially in some of the more touristy cities such as Galway, Doolin, Dingle, Killarney, and Kinsale, and you are going to require 2 rooms. You might want to do some planning ahead of time. It should be a little less crowded in the Northern Counties.

I have found that most B&B's will call ahead for you at your next destination to help you book into a nice place -- they seem to know each other.
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 04:30 AM
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I would book a few Main areas that you are visiting. June-August is the busiest time of year so don't assume it's that laid back and no problem getting a place. You probably have an idea of the areas you want to go so target these areas. If you don't you may end up staying in a place too far away from where you want to be.
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 04:41 AM
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Bord Failte's (the Irish tourist board's) publications list only those registered with them. The majority of B&Bs are not on their lists because they have to pay for this service. In general, if a house is on a main road, they put a sign outside and get their business that way; if a house is off the main roads, they may register with Bord Failte to get customers. I've arrived in Galway, tried the tourist office, been told they've nothing available, then gone along the main road into town (College Road) which is lined with B&Bs who are not registered with Bord Failte. You should not have a problem if you are careful: don't turn up at a popular tourist centre like Dingle at ten o'clock at night and expect to find many vacancies, but there is no point in booking accommodation months in advance. You will see "B&B" signs everywhere along main roads, and in tourist towns.
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 04:50 AM
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GeoffHamer has some very good points.

Additionally, for those who travel with B&B vouchers, the B&B's he's referring to most likely will not take the vouchers -- that is why I personally recommend against vouchers.
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 04:55 AM
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all sorts of good info so far. I'd add - since you are have a generous amount of time I'd suggest looking at renting a cottage for a week somewhere you want to see in depth. (or with 21 days maybe 2 cottages). Having a cottages as a base in one area does not limit your sightseeing possibilities - in fact it gives you more time since you aren't packing up and moving every couple of days. A well placed cottage in the SW would place you w/i an hour's drive of more things to see than you could possibly manage in 7 days. Same goes for someplace up near Galway.

The advantages of a cottage include a LOT more space, your own garden/patio, a kitchen w/ washer/dryer, a comfy place to relax during the day if someone in your group needs to stay home and relax while the others tour, and it will be cheaper than most nice B&Bs.

You definitely need to book ahead for Dublin, some of the major tourist villages, and any cottage(s) you rent.
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 04:59 AM
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to clarify a bit - cottages rent by the week, usually from Sat. to Sat. So since you have 21 days you could rent one cottage for a week and another cottage in a different part of the country for a week and have a, additional full 7 days to visit Dublin and any other areas you missed from your cottage-based stays.
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 06:22 AM
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I am still hesitatant about staying in non-Bord Failte B&B's. If they are Bord Failte approved they will have the shamrock outside and have met a certain criteria to get approval.

As my aunt say ssome of the others are real "cowboys" and you could get anything. I have stayed in non-approved ones but I prefer to know they have been throught a vetting process and open for a few years not just since yesterday.
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 06:44 AM
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The Irish B&Bs that are not approved are not the tourist board's rejects. To be "approved" they have to pay the tourist board; some need the tourist board's promotion and others do not. The roads into Irish towns and cities are lined with B&Bs that are not "approved" because they can get customers without paying the tourist board. You can always look at the bedroom before staying in one of these places. In the extremely unlikely event that you stay a night somewhere you do not like, you can move on somewhere else, which is one of the advantages of not booking places in advance.
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 10:00 AM
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I would also say that even if you HAVE booked a place in advance and were not happy with it when you arrived then leaving and finding another place is your option.

I have done this only ONCE in all my visits to Ireland. It was an extreme case and one in which I ended up having to have my credit card company resolve getting our money back but, in the end, I'm so glad we did not stay. We had had the reservation for over 2 months and paid in full beforehand. Don't be afraid to say "Thanks but no thanks" if you are not happy with the room.

Wendy
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 10:15 AM
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michdphie, you've gotten some good info here. Personally, I'd book the b&bs before I left, and only Tourist Board approved ones. That way you know you are getting at least a certain level of quality, as they have to be approved and reapproved on a regular basis. I've stayed in non-approved B&Bs and it's sketchy at best what you get. All of the eight I've stayed at (and revisited again) were always of similar, excellent quality, no surprises.

The other thing is, how much of your vacation do you want to spend flitting from place to place seeking vacancies that may or may not meet your standards? If you don't mind being redirected to vacant ones, then by all means don't book ahead.
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 10:25 AM
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I would reserve in advance in July because it is pretty busy at that time. Geoff is right in that you would probably not have a problem finding a room, but you may need to jump around a bit. One of the things I enjoy about traveling in Ireland is finding that special B&B in a unique setting, perhaps with a spectacular view. It doesn't have to be fancy. Occasionally the place will be special because of the host. You certainly won't get options like that in July without reservations.

Their are plenty of conributors here that can give you lots of advice and specific B&Bs and you'll find, because they tend to be great places, that many of them are already booked up.

The cottage idea is great if you are going to focus on one or two areas. If you are doing a general tour of the country, B&Bs with multiple night stays would be my choice.

Again, Geoff is right, you should be able to find rooms in most major areas. Smaller areas have fewer choices, so you may have a problem there. Whatever the case, you need to try to make your choice between 4-6PM each day. After that, you may find it harder to find the owners at home. 4-6 is the standard check in time for B&Bs.

Have fun.

Bill
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 11:25 PM
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Geoff I did not realise they pay the tourist board but I do know they must meet a certain criteria to be accepted and you have to wait a certain timeframe i.e. be in business for a set amount of time. This is because anyone can rent a room out in ther house but it may be awful. I posted about one of my bad B&B experiences a while back. I live here and had 1-2 bad experiences. Most of the others were lovely and more than my expectations.

If you are unhappy politely leave and find another place. Have a good trip Micdphie!
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Old Mar 29th, 2004, 11:40 PM
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I'm one to prefer knowing where I'll be resting my head and, with the internet, I don't feel I ever have to stay anywhere without having first looked at photos of the place. I can't tell if you are a party of 3 or 5, but that's another reason to book ahead.

That said, I suppose you know not to overestimate how far you'll drive from one destination to the next... That was a lesson learned for us, since there are essentially no superhighways in Ireland, it will take literally twice as long to get where you are going so don't get too ambitious with each day's driving distances or, like us, you'll pull into to each B & B after dark!

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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 03:46 PM
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We are travelling in May to Ireland, my husband and I. I was originally planning to just "wing it" and book my B&B's while en route...but then changed my mind. I just went on line, you get quite a good description of the B&B and pictures and thought I would book ahead, cause I didn't want to be wasting valuable vacation time searching for a B&B. This way its all looked after.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 04:28 PM
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Ladyjane44,

We're going to have an Ireland GTG somewhere between Kenmare and Mizen Head around the 27/28th of May. If you are going to be in the area, we would love to have the two of you join us. We're flexible in our schedules.

So far, it's Mr. & Mrs. Budman, Mr. & Mrs. HappyCheesehead, and we would love to have Mr. & Mrs. Ladyjane44. Think about it if you are available. I'm bring a couple of bottles of my 2000 Cabernet for the occasion.
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