Irish B & B's

Old Jul 4th, 2008, 09:18 AM
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Irish B & B's

My wife and I will be visiting Ireland in September. We have confirmed reservations for our stay in Dublin but have no lodging set aside beyond that. We would prefer securing a B & B when and where we choose rather than conforming to a schedule based on preset reservations. Is this a naive approach? In their travel guide for Ireland Fodor's says that "finding accommodation is never a major problem--except for those weekends when a town is holding an annual music festival." I trust in Fodor's but I want to make doubly sure that we will not encounter problems in finding lodging if we arrive in Ireland with nothing prearranged. A few years ago, while traveling in Spain, we tried this method of travel and got burned big time. We were hardpressed to find a room anywhere at any price during the week we were there. We spent one night sleeping in our rental car because of this. I'm too old to sleep overnight in a car--makes me cranky. Please give us a heads-up on what we can expect in Ireland.
Gallivanter is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2008, 11:37 AM
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My sister and I stayed in b&bs in Northern Ireland and Ireland two years ago. We did make all our reservations a few months before we left home. Many of the b&bs with good reviews or were in locations we wanted to be were already booked. I would not want to be looking for b&bs while traveling around Ireland. We did find very nice b&bs and had great people to stay with.

You generally have some idea of where you will be going and can plan ahead.
It is not like it used to be years ago when I person drove as far as they wanted to drive and then looked for a vacancy. It is more wise to have a plan. Especially when you don't want to sleep in your car or stay in a place where no one else wanted to stay.



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Old Jul 4th, 2008, 12:02 PM
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I suspect you'll get answers from people with both viewpoints. Personally, I prefer to have rooms booked. To sort of paraphrase what bratsandbeer said, even though there are lots of B&Bs in Ireland, and you're going outside of the high season, doesn't mean that what's left will be the most desirable ones.

One of the main reasons I prefer to book ahead is that I want to be within walking distance of pubs with music. I don't recommend that anyone, especially someone unfamiliar with the country, drive at night after they've had a pint or two. And B&Bs within walking distance of the city centre tend to fill the fastest.

And then there's the fact that I wouldn't want to be wasting any precious time in Ireland driving around looking for a place to stay!

Also, the older I get, the more I like knowing that I'm choosing a place that's come recommended.

I certainly understand the desire to wander at will and stop when a place catches your fancy. But, speaking for myself, the possible risks outweigh the benefits.
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Old Jul 4th, 2008, 02:25 PM
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I always prebook. There are several good sources for searching on-line. I like to look for purpose built, power showers, orthopedic beds in the descriptions. We have made 6 trips to Ireland and one to Northern Ireland. If I knew where you wanted to travel, could make some recommendations. We follow Pat Preston's daytrips idea. Book one location for several nights and do day trips out each day. Less tiring and you get to know the host and area better.
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Old Jul 4th, 2008, 08:06 PM
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Really, there are advantages and disadvantages to each approach. We did book ahead our B&B's, which brought a sense of comfort in knowing that we wouldn't be out on the street for the night. HOWEVER, what I didn't know (or trust) at the time is that there are many, many B&B's in Ireland. They are everywhere, like dandelions in a summer lawn! There were plenty of times during our 2 week stay, when we wished that we "weren't booked" already. We discovered very quickly that we preferred to stay close to the town center...our B&B could have been miles away. Also, spending time actually finding a specific B&B can be frustrating, especially when you see dozens right at hand. So, if I go again, I'll probaby book only the first and last nights, and then take my chances on the rest...hopefully finding ones that are close to the city center.
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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 01:03 AM
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My tactic is: have a list of B&B's on my route of travel and call one day before with an Eircom telephone card - that gives me flexibility in case I make changes 'on the fly.'

I think it's always better to talk to a B&B Owner/Operator in person by phone before making a firm reservation.

Some things happen in September (Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking festival, for example) that could make lodging 'tight' for the area around Doolin (Co. Clare). I stayed at Fitzgerald's B&B in Miltown Malbay when I was there during that event.
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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 11:09 AM
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a few years ago, my friend and I went in March without reservations. Only near Dublin did we have a problem. We used the book of B&B's put out by Town and Country and found it very useful.
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Old Jul 11th, 2008, 11:23 AM
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My husband and I just returned from our first (and hopefully not last!) trip to Ireland. I was told the same thing as you... don't book... go as it comes. And it was BAD advice. We booked a few of our nights, but not all. On the nights we didn't book, we had a difficult time finding a place. In particular, there were ZERO open B&Bs in Kilkenny... we had to stay at a Quality Resort (which was pretty icky). I'd say to go ahead and book them. This way, you get the places you want. Let me know if you need some suggestions... I LOVED some of the B&Bs we stayed at!
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Old Jul 11th, 2008, 12:05 PM
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Calling b&bs on the telephone trying to find a place to stay is not my idea of a vacation. I want to do what I can before I leave home to assure that I am having a worry free vacation.

And I am particular where I lay my head at night. I like to check the reviews of a place before I commit to a reservation.
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Old Jul 11th, 2008, 12:38 PM
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It has been six years since my last Ireland trip, so things may be different now, but we had no trouble winging it in June or September (July and August may be different). With the tourist board B&B book we would call for the next day, or have the B&B hostess whose home we were leaving call someplace several hours away to reserve a spot for us for that night. We were a group of three and did just fine, so I think a couple would do well that way too.

Once we did find ourselves in a place that was less than ideal, but we stayed that night and left in the morning. If you want a flexible itinerary and could endure one night in a place where the bed is lumpy or the cows are a little too close to your bedroom window, take a chance.
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Old Aug 16th, 2008, 06:41 PM
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Bridegrl06, we'd love to get your suggestions on the B&Bs that you recommend. My Mom, and husband are going to South Ireland (in Dublin and out Shannon) for 2 weeks in May. thanks!
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