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Winging it in Ireland in October 2018

Hi all!

My boyfriend and I are going to be traveling in Ireland for about 10 days at the very end of September till the 7th of October. The plan is to see as much of the country as we can. I'm finding a lot of great places we could stay through AirBNB and other sites, but at the same time I'd really like the option to change plans at the last minute, since we're renting a car. I was thinking we could book a few places throughout the week just to keep our course and then find the other housing accommodations day of, the other option is to plan nothing ahead and find everything as we go.
How easy is it to wing it in Ireland? I know September/October is when tourist season slows down a little, but I've never been there so I don't know how much. I'd love to keep prices as low as possible, but I don't want to end up spending an insane amount on B&B's last minute. (All the places I've seen on airbnb are around $80 a night). I also don't want to waste a ton of time driving around trying to find available rooms.
Any help or advice you guys have would be so appreciated!

Posted by
503 posts

Much as we would all like it, traveling is about trade offs - so I think you need to decide what your priority is - is it finding best (i.e.
lowest cost/amenities lodging options possible? Or is it having maximum flexibility - because the two do not, as a rule, go hand in hand. Also, with only 10 days, you won't see everything Ireland has to offer and I would caution about trying to cram in as many places as possible. Along that same vein, do you really want to devote an hour or so of your day to finding lodging? Personally I don't like wasting my time searching for lodging on a trip of that duration.

Ireland is country whose charm is best experienced at a slower pace IMO.

You should not have any trouble finding accommodations by just "winging it" - but the "best deals" may not always be available.

Posted by
465 posts

Winging it in Ireland is quite easy - and adventurous - even in the summer months, when you can roll into any city, town or village and find a room by knocking on a door or two, or calling ahead that morning. We've done so on numerous, multi-week bicycle trips all over the island and had difficulty finding a room right away on but one occasion when we arrived in a popular commerical town (Westport, Co. Mayo) on a weekend. It took less than an hour to do so eventually, however. If flexibility is what you're looking for, then by all means go for it. And in late September and October, the tourist traffic is barely noticable. If you go to County Donegal, then tourist traffic is basically nil any time of year.

Irish Tourist Board/ITB-approved B&Bs (of which there are over 2,000) are also a lot less expensive than the $80 Airbnb price you cite. Generally expect to pay $45-$65 a night per room. Split that in two and voila! You'll also get a delicious, filling breakfast ("full Irish" or cold), meet the family and make new friends. I stayed at the same B&B at the beginning and end of six of my nine trips to Ireland and watched the four kids grow up over the years. Quite a treat.

So when you arrive in town, just look for an ITB sign with the green shamrock out front. As one of my students says, "Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy!" B&Bs are everywhere, the Irish exceptionally friendly and drivers patient and courteous.

Here are two B&B websites you can research:


With only ten days in-country and trying to see all you can, you'll be in the car all day long and end up actually seeing (and experiencing) very little. A wiser strategy is to pick a town or two or three in different regions and take day trips from there. Alternatively - and perhaps the optimum way to see and experience a good, managable slice of Ireland, its people and culture (e.g., historic sites, castles, pub life, trad music and such) - is to focus on a couple of areas or two or three or four counties and pick and choose your routes and overnight spots each day. That's flexibility.

But first, answer these for yourself: What are your interests? What do you want to see and do? Do you like rugged coastlines, the mountains, villages, small towns or cities (of which there are only three or four), beaches, history, great scenery? Once you've determined that, then the structure and objectives of your itinerary will fall into place much easier.