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Winging it in Ireland?

Hi All,

We will be spending 5 days on the west coast of Ireland in mid-February. We're hoping to do Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Peninsula and Ring of Kerry. I want some flexibility, so I was wondering if it would be foolish to "wing it" accommodation-wise and not book any rooms until the day of. I'd like to just find a town and a place to stay when we're over there. Am I going to have a ton of trouble doing that? I don't want to spend the night in my car because I can't find any hotels! I know it's low season, so there aren't a lot of tourists, but I've also read that a lot of lodging places are closed this time of year. Also, I've never been to Ireland, so I'm not sure if B&B/hotel rates will be ridiculous if we book the day of (i.e., will we save a ton money by booking ahead)...I don't want to spend $500 on a teeny B&B room because I didn't book ahead...any help is much appreciated.

Posted by
9110 posts

It's the only way to do it.

Prices won't go up in a B&B if you knock on the door when you're ready to stop. The darn things abound, if anything they might give you a cut, either for cash or because they've given up hope on customers for the day.

Hotels I don't know about.

Posted by
9363 posts

Some B&Bs do close in the winter, but there are still plenty open. I have traveled twice in Ireland in February, and I never book ahead. I just stopped wherever and asked if they had a room. I never encountered a full one, and I was often the only guest. And as Ed said, the rates don't increase because you didn't book ahead. You won't have any trouble.

Posted by
1164 posts

We were there in June and seemed to be plenty of available places. Right now the economy is pretty soft. One B&B owner said the low airfares to the continent are causing more people from the cities to go there instead of to the west coast.

Posted by
2 posts

In Feb you will find plenty of comfortable, friendly, and reasonable B&B's. Not necessary to book ahead and in all of the 20 years we've been visiting Ireland we haven't felt ripped off. Generally the Irish people welcome us "yanks" and treat us fairly. Don't be afraid to say so if you feel the price is out of line. But I doubt if that will happen

Posted by
638 posts

Of all the places to travel in Europe and Ireland in particular, I believe this would be the easiest place to "wing it."

Posted by
6059 posts

That's the way I did it. No problem finding rooms. I went to the Tourist Information office after arriving in each town, and they found rooms to my specs and price range, and I was happy to let them do the work.

Posted by
1437 posts

No problem winging it at all. You will, at most, pay the posted rate.

What you may want to do, though, is do just a wee bit of research ahead of time in identifying a few B&Bs that interest you near where you want to be and have their phone numbers on hand with you.

Posted by
991 posts

I agree, winging it is a fun way to go.. but maybe not so much in the dark and February gets dark early. I would: in the morning figure out kinda-sorta where we think we'll be when we stop for the day and go to the nearest TI (from where you are not where you're going) and have them book a place in advance. I know a lot of people say booking that way takes away revenue from your host, but it still saves a lot of agro. And sometimes during the winter TI's close early. Not quite winging it but easier than driving down a Irish road, spotting a sign that says B&B and not being able to see it from the road. It can be a bit dodgie as many of you know. On the other hand: You are going to Ireland if February so you are already on your way to being wing-it people.

Posted by
1887 posts

You should have no problem at all, just suggest you don't try to get at place after dark,it can be frustrating. You can get a book from the Irish tourist bureau that lists plenty of B&B, call them and they will mail it to you within a week, it tells you which ones are open during the winter, prices, etc. Enjoy.

Posted by
52 posts

Anyone know if you can WING IT in July--i.e.-- not book ahead at B & B's. Also anyone know of a nice sheep farm to stay at. Going Dublin south to Lismore, Cobh, Ring of Kerry and Cong.
Thanks

Posted by
1437 posts

Winging it in high demand times like July is always possible, but not necessarily advisable. ;-)

You can try it if there's only two of you and you're not picky about price and such. Well-recommended B&Bs tend to be booked in advance. You will have to invest time in finding the next B&B as you go, so be prepared with a list of potentials. The tourist offices will be able to help in the towns where present. You will, however, need to be prepared for just keep moving on...

Posted by
1437 posts

I can recommend a nice horse farm, just a hop from Newmarket on Fergus (between Shannon and Ennis): Cahergal Farm House B&B. We stayed there on our last two nights before flying out of Shannon Airport.

Posted by
8 posts

if you're really interested in winging it, you can also stay at International Hostels -- there are many in Ireland. I did that in September, staying in Dublin (twice), Galway, and Ennis. and i'm no spring chicken. it was fun and educational.