Should we wing it?

Old May 20th, 2007, 05:19 PM
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Should we wing it?

We are going to be traveling to Ireland in the beginning of July. We are going to fly into the Shannon airport and stay on the coast ~ Ring of Kerry~ Moher cliffs~ Galway~ And Connemara. We are wondering whether its possible to just explore and not make reservations at hotels. So we can really go at our own pace. What are your suggestions? And if you know anything about the area we are planning to go to that would help a lot to! Thank you
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Old May 20th, 2007, 05:51 PM
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Most of the year - sure. But in July to those very popular parts of the west coast - you should have most of your accomodations nailed down. Or at VERY least a list of places you have checked out on-line. The tourist offices will help you find available rooms - but you might end up paying a lot more if all the moderately priced places are booked full.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 06:12 PM
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I agree with janis that, in July, you're taking a real chance by not having reservations. Another thing I always like to point out is that, if you're interested in going to the pubs in the evenings, you're better off to be within walking distance. You really don't want to be driving unfamiliar, dark roads after you've had a couple of pints. And while there are lots of B&Bs in Ireland, there aren't necessarily a lot in each town that are walking distance to the city centre. Those that are, fill up quickly.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 08:49 PM
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I would do reservations. Particularly Galway and if you are thinking Kenmare or Killarney for ROK.

You are going when the season is really picking up. Most everyone will advise at least your 1st night should be booked. You have also listed areas that are well travelled in season (with exception to Connemara and which specific area- that could be a little more quiet).

Yes, there are tons of B&B's in Ireland, BUT as CAPH says location, location, location! Do you really want to be knocking on doors and checking out availability, rates and acceptability or standing in line at the tourist info. hoping that there is something close by when you could already have a room and be in a pub enjoying the craic?

If nothing else at least have a few you have checked out before hand and made a list of with phone #'s to take along.

Galway on College Road alone has about 7 or 8 all in a row next to each other and on our 1st out of season visit we ended up with no reservations (there was alot of availability) BUT we were staring at a long row of B&B's- picked one and hated it- (it is amazing how much different someplace can look when you are wet, tired and hungry and then the next morning after a terrible bed, shower and breakfast) had to move out and go somewhere else. We were lucky it was out of season, in July you may not have that choice.

This doesn't have to stifle your wandering and exploring- you leave point "A" and know that you need to end at point "B"- there are still many ways to travel in between. In Ireland, well, I've found that there is always something amazing around the next bend!

Good Luck!
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Old May 21st, 2007, 12:25 AM
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I always wing it. Always. Cannot abide being restricted to having to be in a certain town by a certain night (or time). Instead, I love the freedom to detour, linger, whatever. To me that's what travel is about. Calling in to a Tourist Information Office to arrange accommodation is never a bother, so long as you don't leave it till too late in the day.
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Old May 21st, 2007, 11:11 AM
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There are pros and cons of either winging it or making reservations. If you have reservations you get to choose the best places to stay in each area. You must make an advance itinerary to do that. It restricts you somewhat but in July (high season) you will be competing with all the other tourists. You are going to all the most popular places in Ireland. It might not be so difficult if you were going to less touristed areas.

Finding accommodation on the fly takes time. Waiting in lines at the tourist offices, stopping at B&Bs only to find no vacancies (not everyone puts up signs for "no vacancies"). Are you willing to spend time (maybe even hours every day) looking for places to stay when you could be sightseeing instead?

You can wing it in July. Just be aware of the challenges and that you may not be staying in the best places. The nicest fill up with people making advance reservations. You may not get your choice of towns either. If something special is going on in Galway you may have to stay well out of town or in another town and drive in.

Can you wing it in July? Sure! Do you want to?
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Old May 21st, 2007, 12:59 PM
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I agree that July would be a good month to have reservations. A good itinerary will allow you the ability to linger without having to spend lots of time lingering at the tourist office. Vacation time to me is too valuable to spend driving around trying to get a place to stay and then perhaps, ending up somewhere unsatisfactory.

To me, an important part of a vacation is the place that I stay. I've found a number of B&Bs that I saty at because the owner has made a special impression on me and I go there again and again. Keep that in mind as you make a decision on this. You will get some good advice here on where to stay, but they will usually require reservations in July.

That said, I usually don't stay in hotels so you may be able to get a bit luckier there. I would say that if you are staying in a good size village or town on a weekend, you would want to reserve rooms. Somehow, I've never stayed in Galway on a weekend night, but I would think, especially in July, that stag and hen parties are pretty popular then and may be taking up a lot of the rooms.

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Old May 21st, 2007, 01:10 PM
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Be aware too that in Ireland almost anyone can put up a B&B sign and they do. That means many (B&B's) are not regulated.Some may be fine, others not, but you'll only know after the fact.

As has already been stated, the better accommendations will likely be reserved in July.I understand you wanting to wing it, but for July, I'd book. Otherwise you might be spending an inordinate amount of time looking and even then end up in a dump of a place.
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