We are beginning to plan our trip to Ireland for August 28 - Sept. 12, 2015. We will be mostly in the south and southwestern part of the country - Ring of Kerry, Cork area, Cashel, Kilkenny, etc. We would like the flexibility of not making lodging reservations in advance so we can spend as little or as much time as we want in each area. Please share your recommendations as to whether we will be able to find lodgings without making advance reservations.
You'll be at the tail end of the summer rush, maybe even missing it. We were there in late June, before the July rush started. Touring on bikes, we weren't certain how many miles we'd go each day, and although we'd made some specific reservations before we left the USA for the very beginning and very end of the trip, plus one house we rented for a week in Dingle, the rest were booked as we went along. In some cases, we stopped at a Tourist Information office in one town and had them book us a reservation at a B&B a few towns down the road, so they were always able to find us a great place with a vacancy.
Sure: hostels. Kenmare has a fine hostel right downtown, ditto Kilkenny, Dingle, Doolin and Galway. Don't know about Cashel or Cork, but I'm sure you'd be happy. We stay in hostels about 70% of the time, sometimes with reservations, sometime not. Never failed to get a room, including private rooms. Just make sure you get there before they close for the night.
Are you driving? If you can get into a city center and visit the TI before they close they are great in finding overnight accommodations at the last minute. You'd need to research locales and times for each of the cities you mentioned. Also, as you drive into towns, villages, cities be on the look out for brown sign posts outside of homes, near driveways, etc. They are plentiful and designate that the property is a B and B. If you see a place you like, stop and inquire if they have a bed for the night. If they don't, most likely they'll know some place that does. Lastly, you can always ask at the local pub if they know of a place renting out rooms. In retrospect the answer to your question is no, you'll not need advance reservations at that time of year. Only word of caution is to get into town, etc before sundown so you aren't looking for those signs in the dark. Slainte!
Suggest you at least try to book your first night ahead of time especially as you will be tired from overnight flight. Other than that you can do as others suggested. Noticed you mention Ring of Kerry. For what it is worth we always prefer Dingle Pensinula much more than the Ring. Enjoy your trip.
I think you're on the right track with the advice above. Driving gives you so many more options - to easily reach B&Bs at the edge of town or to move on the next town if necessary. It's been several years since I did that in Ireland, but it was summer and went smoothly.
Thanks to all of you for your comments. They will allow us to venture around with more confidence.