i am planning a trip with my husband to ireland i want to drive my way through.... can it be done without hotel/b&b reservations? just stop and find a place? what towns are good to stop in? any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. whats the best time to go.....looking for off season..
I did the same earlier this year during late May and we didn't have any problems finding a B&B at all. There really are loads of them and you don't even need to search or drive a lot to find one.
In general, spring and early summer are best for Ireland with generally long and dry days, albeit not really warm. 20 degrees or more is not very common, even during summer. May is a good month, and that way you will avoid the busier months of june-august. Some schools start already with holiday in June. Otherwise, if may is not an option, try september, often surprisingly pleasant weather was well.
Also no need to base yourself in a certain city or town, more often than not B&B's are located on the outskirts of town or just in the countryside. But as a driving route the west and southwest are probably the most spectactular and good for a first time visit to Irelan. The southwest circuit includes the Ring of Kerry and several other peninsulas. Dingle peninsula is my favorite one. Also don't forget the visit the cliffs of moher and connemara.
Although less spectactular, try to drive through the interior as well, more quiet and with some nice scenery and castles along the way.
I think Donegal is the most scenic county in the Republic. And try not to miss out on the Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland including the Giant's Causeway.
May is a good month to visit. Comfortable temperatures and not too crowded.
Finding B&B accomodation is easy and you might also consider camping if so inclined.
A few thoughts in no particular order. I agree with pretty much everything Michael says. May is a great month to visit as all of the sites are open, yet you're hitting right before the big tourist season. Also the weather should be nice then. Dingle Peninsula is also my favorite, but I like Killarney (city) a lot too. I strongly, strongly advise doing the whole island and not just the Republic. My first go round we drove pretty much the entire coastline and it was great - I strongly advise it as the way to go. The north coast is gorgeous - especially Glenariff Park, Giant's Causeway, and the Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge. Belfast is an interesting city as well. Dublin's got some interesting stuff, but I wouldn't stay there too long, as there's so much else worth visiting. I haven't done it without prebooking places to stay, but I don't think it should be a problem in off season. Also as Rudradeb says Dongel is beautiful. Hope this is helpful
I think the best time to go is in october, January or Feburary.
During the other months there are a lot of tourists or else everything is slowing down for Chirstmas.
People in Ireland take Christmas very seriously and many B&Bs etc may close.
I dont think u need to book accomodation if u go off season. The ones which open off season should have rooms available.
The most beautiful part of Ireland is around the coast.
U could drive around the coast from Dublin to Galway in either direction and then cut accross the country back to Dublin if u dont have time to drive all the way around.
[ Edit: Edited on Dec 31, 2007, at 12:28 PM by Mel. ]
Just a personal note, but being in Ireland right now, l cant agreee with Mel that Oct, Jan or Feb are the best months to visit. Oct sure you can be lucky and get good Autumnal weather but Jan and Feb are generally speaking the worst months of the year - rain wind hail sleet and even snow. I know that attractions such as Carrick a Ree rope bridge will not open until at least Easter so l would guess many other attractions would be closed too. May is usually a good bet, schools close at the end of June until Sept so usually the months in between are the busier months.
Booking accomodation on the spot should not be a problem indeed the tourist board will provide you a book of registered B&B accomodation which you can use.
The West Coast of Ireland is indeed beautiful with Galway being a cracker city - and home to the best fish and chip shop in the world ever!! The amazing Cliffs of Moher are about 1 hour away too.
Theres lots to do in Ireland but you really do need a car as public transport is awful!
We spent two weeks in Ireland - the first week was spent down in Kerry, near(ish) Killarney, fantastic county down there. The second week we drove around the country using B&B's...Which was pretty succesful, some were great, some not so!
Trallee (sp?) is worth a stop, as are the two capitol cities (Dublin more so than Belfast). Killarney is quite attractive. Cork also is worth a trip.
Summer is the best time to go. It rains all the way through the year anyway, so best to at a time were it rains the least. Its not a touristy destination, even busy locations like the Giants Causeway are not overwhelmingly busy. We were there in August and the car park was half full.
I go there fairly regulary because I have family out there - summer is easily the most pleasent season.
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 2, 2008, at 3:14 AM by Sam2000 ]