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Bank Holiday Mondays in the Republic of Ireland

I'll be on the Aran Islands the weekend before the June 1 bank holiday (May 30 & 31). I already have reservations on Inishmore that Friday and Saturday night, and plan on returning to the mainland at Rossaveal (near Galway) that Monday, the June 1 bank holiday. Do the Irish people typically go home on that Monday, so they're back at work on Tuesday? Or, do they make it a week-long vacation? I'm trying to find out if we'll have trouble finding a place to stay that Monday night, or if everyone will have headed home by then, so we can just "wing it" and not have a reservation that night. My husband and I want to pretty much just travel around and stop when we like an area, so would rather not book an advance reservation if we don't have to. We'd be heading up toward Connemara from Rossaveal. Any input from people who've traveled over bank holidays is appreciated.

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In addition to traditional tourist office services, modern web technology gives you extra ways to find rooms on the fly, such as through Google maps. Here's a response from Pat O'Connor.

Irish Bank Holidays are generally non-issues unless you need to do face-to-face business in a bank or post office (which are closed). Public transportation will still run, but it might be on a Holiday schedule with less frequent options. Most Irish just take the long weekend rather than a full week off. You can “wing it” and rely on the local Tourist Info offices to book you a room as your travels unfold. Any town worthy of tourism maintains a Tourist Info office that keeps a database of approved lodging that meets certain standards. They’ll ask you your budget and whether or not you have a car, and then make a phone call or two to find out where rooms are available nearby. For this service, they’ll tack on a small fee (usually around 5 Euros or so).

But beggars can’t be choosers and you might end up with a room in a place that’s distant from the center of town. The only “town” on Inishmore is Kilronan…more of a crossroads than a town actually. Since you won’t be able to take your rental car over to the island, you’ll be relying on spotty informal minivan taxi service…or walking…which could be a pain if you’re stuck with a place that’s a mile from Kilronan.

Years ago my brother (a serious photographer) and I traveled together in Ireland without reservations. We “winged it” because he wanted to see what scenery and photographic subjects struck his fancy. But by 4pm each day, we had to make a decision and visit a Tourist Info office before it closed. If you wait until too late in the day, you might discover that the Tourist Info office closed (as early as 5pm in some small towns).

Hope this helps!

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Thank you so much for the great information. I appreciate your advice.