Town centre parking: free for all?

I’m very prolific today, after a long absence…

Anyhow.

I’ve recently moved to a town centre apartment in a small town. There’s a car park nearby which has a maximum of three hour stay and it is paid parking. There aren’t any stickers or other residential parking permits for free or for purchase. After 17.30 and before 9.30 it’s free and there’s no limit. As I work during those hours there’s no problem during the week.

However, the situation is the same on Saturday when I don’t work. Basically, all town car park operate on the same system so I am not allowed to stay longer than three hours even if I did want to pay for it. Everything else nearby is residential areas unless I park way out into the countryside (we’re talking miles). Last Friday I plonked my car in front of a house with a long wall. There would have been space left for the residents to park, but if they had two cars there wouldn’t have been room left for the second one.
I’ve always lived in the suburbs, so I previously always had my own space and am wondering about the etiquette of it all.

What do you all think?

Was I out of line even to park overnight in front of someone’s house?

Or is centre town parking on a first come first serve basis so that anyone living centrally will just have to fight for their car space as part of the deal?

If I am out of line, any suggestions for solving the problem would be appreciated.

Don’t know about Ireland, but in the US, on-street parking in residential areas is first-come, first-served, unless it is posted otherwise.