HOW TO FIND ACCOMMODATION IN IRELAND?
The most popular places to stay in Ireland are the so-called B&B, or Bed & Breakfast, which means a bed and breakfast included in the price..Almost every fifth family offers part of their apartment or house to tourists and I can confirm that this is the best accommodation you can opt for in this country. Why? Because the Irish are flexible, laid-back and easy to get along with. Living with an Irish family, we have the opportunity to learn about a foreign culture, try traditional food (even if only for breakfast), or learn the daily routine and unusual habits. Besides, from local hosts you can find out what to see in the area, where to eat and what to avoid. Of course, Ireland offers several other types of accommodation, e.g. in hotels, hostels or guesthouses, which are also worth attention; depending on what you want.
How to search for accommodation? I usually recommend searching and booking from day to day, unless you want to stay in one place for longer. The exception is Dublin, especially on weekends, because the cheapest accommodation gets full very quickly, so it’s better to book the room well in advance. During our trip we usually searched for a place to stay during dinner, when we had some free time and an access to Wi-Fi. Wherever we were, the signs promoting and showing the directions to the next B&B were everywhere, which is why one evening we decided to spontaneously look for a place in the nearest area by knocking directly at the door. It took us only half an hour to find an available room! The only drawback was that we had no way to negotiate the price because it was too late to look for something cheaper.
B&B accommodation can be booked via Booking.com or AirBnB, so you can compare them with available hostels, guest houses and hotels. The price for a room for two people with breakfast varies between 50 and 80 euros, depending on the location, size of the room and availability of the bathroom (private or shared). If you know the exact date and destination, search for a perfect B&B earlier, because the prices of these places are usually fixed. And what is the difference between a B&B and a typical accommodation on AirBnb? The fact that the B&B owners usually live in a given facility and are on site during the stay of their guests. At AirBnB, most often we can book the whole apartment, or share it with other tenants.
During our week's trip, we spent three nights in B&B's, once in the guesthouse and once, but for a longer period, in the apartment booked on AirBnB. Each of these facilities was comfortable and clean, although not luxurious, because we chose the accommodation for the lowest available price. Below I present a description and a brief review of each of them, starting with the one which made the best impression on me. Maybe you will book one of them during your next trip to Ireland? :)
1. Conn Oriel B&B (Tralee) – price for double room including breakfast: 59 euro.
An unforgettable place, above all thanks to the wonderful hospitality of the host who served us the best Irish breakfast we've tried! The greatness of this place is evidenced by the high rating on Booking.com: 9.3 / 10, which makes it grow in popularity.
Our room was small but well-equipped with two comfortable beds, bedside tables, a dressing table with a mirror, a hair dryer, a coffee and tea kettle, a spacious wardrobe and an ironing board. The private bathroom with shower had soap, shampoo and toothpaste, that is all basic cosmetics. At bedtime we asked for a jug of water and there was no problem with it. Next morning, the owner asked us what we would like to eat for breakfast and she happily adapted to our requirements (Aga does not eat meat, and I am a vegan). The host served us with toasts, Heinz beans, fried mushrooms and tomatoes, hash browns, fried eggs (for Aga), a sweet roll, orange juice, coffee and tea; in addition, products such as milk, cereal, yoghurt and fruit were generally available and spread out on a separate table. Yum!
2. An Sceal Fada B&B (Talow)– price for delux (!) double room including breakfast: 65 euro.
We spent the very first night on the Irish land here and because of the location and the decor of both the room and the whole house, we fell in love with this place. Our room was filled with the belongings of the owners, which at first seemed strange to us, but in the end did not bother us at all. The hosts were very nice and obliging, although we did not have much time to talk to them because we arrived late in the evening. Next day they lelf the house to our own use - they left for work before seven o'clock. In peace we ate already prepared breakfast: cereal, milk, toast, jam, cheese, fruit. From the spacious kitchen with the large table at which we ate, we overlooked a glass veranda from which one could observe grazing cows just behind the fence. There was silence around the house, no car passed through and for these reasons I recommend this place especially for people who want to relax, calm down and who have a car, because the nearest shop was a few kilometers away.
3. Gregorian Quarter AirBnb (Dublin) – price for a room in the apartment: 243 euro / for three nights
When it comes to this apartment, I still have some mixed feelings. Its main advantages are: location (10 minute-walk to the center, shop and bus stop are across the street, situated in a quiet housing estate), cleanliness, a small balcony and a living room with a dining table at the guests' disposal. The room itself was very tiny and could not be locked. The bed could barely fit in it, and despite the wardrobe, it was difficult not to leave some of our belongings on the ground. We only got one set of towels and cosmetics, and the breakfast consisted of a box of flakes and a liter of milk and one bowl and a single set of cutlery. There was no hair dryer in the apartment (however, this information is provided on AirBnB), luckily we could borrow it from our roommate. The kitchen in the apartment was equipped with a stove, oven, toaster, kettle and dishwasher, and it was integrated into the living room, which made it difficult to get rid of food odors.
4. B&B (Letterfrack) – price for a double room including breakfast: 70 euro.
We came to this place by accident, following the roadside signs. It was an exciting experience for us, especially in the age of the Internet - just knock on the door and ask for accommodation. As it turned out, we were the first guests of this facility this year. We got a large room with separate beds and a private bathroom. The only downside was the temperature - it was cold in the room as well as outside. Probably the owners did not heat up this part of the house, not expecting the guests, and although the radiators were on all night, the room did not warm up at all and in the morning it was difficult to even raise hands under the quilt. The served breakfast was a standard: toast, cereal, fruit, orange juice, coffee, tea (Aga also got eggs). The house was tidy and we felt good in it. However, it was old-fashioned and obviously the glory years were behind.
5. 19th Green Guesthouse (Killarney) – price for a double room excluding breakfast: 57,60 euro.
I placed this accommodation at the end of the list because of its type, i.e. the hotel style. The room in which we stayed was very spacious, it had two double beds, a small table with chairs and a shoe cabinet with a kettle on top of it. On the other hand, the private bathroom was very small and the shower cabin was cramped. We gave up the breakfast because instead of having to eat the toast with jam again for 20 euros (breakfast costed 10 euros per person), we stopped to do some shopping before reaching the place and bought few products for breakfast.
This guesthouse is located by a fairly busy road, and unfortunately the window let in a lot of noise. The guesthouse is situated around 7 kilometers from the city center, which does not bother you if you have a car. This is a good place to start the route called the Ring of Kerry, as well as it is perfect for golf fans, because there is a golf course next to it.
To sum up: I think that in Ireland you can easily book the cheapest accommodation, because the standard should be at least decent. In this country, not much attention is paid to interior design, trim hedges or luxury accessories, but the apartments are clean and tidy, and this is enough, especially if you intend to spend only one or two nights in them!
If you have any questions, remarks, or maybe you would like to share your experience / story, feel free to leave a comment :)