10 Adventurous activities for an Ireland campervan road trip
So you’re all ready to go on your Irish campervan road trip, but what to do and where to go? Isn’t Ireland the place you go to sit inside and look out at the rain? Not if you know where to look, and luckily for you, we’re about to share 10 amazing adventure activities across the entire island of Ireland.
- The Sugarloaf – An Easy Hike
- Croaghaun Sea Cliffs – Test your toughness
- Howling Ridge – A vertical challenge
- Up, Up and Away – Sea Cliff Climbing
- Huffin at Puffins – Saltee Island Ferry
- Shean’s Horse Farm horse riding
- Rubber Side Down – Mountain biking
- One for the Road – Greenway Cycling
- Getting Down and Dirty – Bog snorkelling
- Pure Magic – Bioluminescence Night Kayaking
The Sugarloaf – An Easy Hike
Just outside the bustling capital lies the Sugarloaf. It is likely most Dublin children’s first “Mountain” given its proximity and effort to reward ratio.
Just a short distance from our Dublin campervan depot, it’s an ideal start point to ease yourself into your Bunk Campers’ Irish campervan adventure. The view from the summit is hugely rewarding, with the city to the north, the sea to the east, and the Wicklow Mountains to the south and west.
Allow yourself 30-40 minutes to reach the top from the Sugarloaf Carpark. There’s a fun, short scramble just before gaining the peak which can cause a bit of a queue at the weekends.
It is important to note that the car park for the Sugarloaf is only low-roof camper friendly. If you want to bring a van taller than 2.2 metres, you’ll need to park at Kilmacanogue GAA Club and it’s a longer 2-3 hour hike that takes in the smaller Sugarlump and involves a few less defined trails.
Croaghaun Sea Cliffs – Test your toughness
If you laughed at the idea that the Sugarloaf can even be considered a “hike”, well this one is for you!
The Croaghaun Sea Cliffs are the highest sea cliffs in Ireland, and the third-highest in Europe. What’s more, you begin this hike at the stunning Keem Beach so you earn every one of 688 metres since you begin right at sea level.
Starting from the Keem car park, you walk directly up the unforgiving slope. Walking poles are highly recommended for this one folks!
Once you reach the cliff edge, simply keep the sea to your left and walk! You do get some respite while traversing the cliffs, but don’t underestimate the steepness of each climb.
When you draw level with the peak of Croughaun Mountain, you’ll need to descend down into the valley. You then have the option to cut back through the valley to the solace of your camper waiting at Keem, or you can continue up Croughan Mountain proper.
Again, it’s a steep, long slog but the views from the summit are incredible. The route down is really up to you. There’s no defined path, so you can navigate your way towards the coast road, or head back down the valley.
There are usually quite a few people camping at Keem beach, and with basic toilet facilities available for free, it’s no wonder!
Howling Ridge – A vertical challenge
Once you’ve proved your mettle on Croaghaun, you might want something even more extreme. You’ll need to make your way down to the southwest to The Kingdom of Kerry.
Carrauntoohil is the highest peak in Ireland and it’s on many a person’s bucket list to trek up by Devil’s Ladder, or maybe brave the long Coomloughra Horseshoe.
However, you’re looking for a real challenge, so why not try and rope up and climb Ireland’s biggest multi-pitch climb, Howling Ridge.
The climbing isn’t the most technical, but you are very exposed the whole time so if any weather comes in, you’ll take the brunt of it.
If you’re not fully confident of the route, or of your ability to lead climb a big multi-pitch, you can book the guiding team at Kerry Climbing and they’ll provide the gear and knowledge for an adventurous day out.
Parking up for the night couldn’t be easier, since the hike starts at Cronin’s Yard who have showers, toilets, and a whole pile of camping space. Best to give them a call a few days in advance, but they have a big parking area where they’re happy to accommodate. As always, cash is king around those parts, so make sure to have some.
Up, Up and Away – Sea Cliff Climbing
Maybe hiking isn’t your thing, and you’re more vertical in your persuasion. Well Climb-it in the Burren in County Clare has just the thing for you. Climbing above solid ground is one thing, but climbing with the Atlantic waves licking at your heels is a completely different beast altogether.
Simply abseiling down these impressive sea cliffs would be an activity in itself, but what goes down must come up, and you’ll haul yourself up some of the best limestone cliffs in the world.
There used to be a lovely camping spot right on the coastline but unfortunately, some campers decided to this was the perfect place to leave piles of rubbish, and start campfires, so it’s now blocked off.
You can still park just off the road, or even better, make your way into Lahinch and stay in the camper designated spots right in front of one of the best surfing beaches in Ireland.
Parking is free between 7 pm and 10 am and you can avail of the many pubs and restaurants nearby. Try and call for reservations though, Lahinch is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
Huffin at Puffins – Saltee Island Ferry
The Saltee Islands are just off the coast of Kilmore in Wexford and if you’re a fan of boats and nature photography, this is the place for you. Between April and August, you’ll find the beautiful puffins nesting on the island, so make sure you’ve got the right dates.
The pufflings (baby puffins) are elusive and really only come out at night, but if you can grab a shot of one of those guys, you’ll have bragging rights over the scores of photographers there.
The Ferry costs €30 for adults and €15 for under-12s on the Saltee Ferry, but be aware, there are no facilities on the island. You’ll need to bring food to last you the day too! The landing can be a bit difficult at times, so either be ready to go barefoot or have waterproof boots on!
Luckily, you don’t have to go far to camp up for the night. Kilmore Quay Camping has all amenities, a shop, and it’s right beside a few restaurants and bars too! What more could you want for 20 quid per night?
Shean’s Horse Farm horse riding
If you’re touring the rugged causeway coast on your Ireland road trip, then you’ll want to check out Shean’s Horse Farm- a 5-star rated Horse Riding centre (and an hour from our Belfast campervan depot!).
Whether your riding style is more Seabiscuit or “Tayho” from Into the West, Shean’s Horse Farm can bring that movie magic to your camper trip.
You can take the horses out on a demanding cross-country day or a nice relaxed meander along the Antrim Coastline.
This is one of those adventure activities to suit all ages, there’s even the option for an afternoon tea ride, where you stop off at their stunning cabin and enjoy the best spread in the North.
As far as campervan road trips go, the causeway coast is a bucket list destination. I’d also suggest wandering inland just a little to take in the winding roads of the Glens of Antrim. Glenariff Forest park has a lovely campervan area that you can book here.
Rubber Side Down – Mountain Biking
Are you a fan of long, flowing downhill lines? Or maybe you prefer technical steep terrain? Either way, Ireland has an abundance of official mountain bike trails and parks that will keep you satisfied!
If you strap your mountain bikes to the back of your camper, you could spend every day on different trails, spanning from Ticknock in Dublin, Ballinastoe in Wicklow, Ballyhoura in Limerick and Kinnity in Co. Offaly.
These trailheads all offer bike rental too, they usually cost €30- €40 and offer tours, training, and coffee!
If you’re more into jumps than roots and rocks, you’ll need to head to The Gap where you can lap some of the best jump lines you’ll find. They also rent full suspension bikes and all protective gear, and do some of the best food around!
One for the Road – Greenway Cycling
If you’re into cycling but prefer flats to fast downhill, Ireland has you covered too. Recently disused train lines have been given a new lease of life as Greenways for bikes and pedestrians.
You can take this as leisurely as you like and stop at the myriad of cafes and pubs along the 50 odd kilometres long Waterford Greenway, or go full bikepacking mode on the Royal Canal Greenway from Maynooth in Kildare to Longford town 130km away!
A personal favourite is the Great Western Greenway from Achill Island to Westport. This isn’t one for skinny road bikes, but mountain bikes and commuter bikes work great on the gravel road.
You can rent bikes at several places along all the greenways, and many rental companies offer free collection and drop off services, so you don’t need to double back!
See Greenways Ireland for details on all the routes
Getting Down and Dirty – Bog snorkelling
Yes, you read that right. Snorkelling, but in a bog. Not just any bog, a 60-metre long bog, and it’s a race!
What started as a fun idea for a fundraiser in Co. Monaghan has turned into an annual event where people don snorkels, flippers and wetsuits to swim two lengths of a watery bog.
The event is usually in August or September, so the best place to see if your camper trip lines up with the event is on their Facebook page .
If you’re planning on snorkelling, make sure to choose from our range of campervans for hire with a toilet & shower, or it could be a rather putrid-smelling night for you and whoever is sharing the van for the night!
Pure Magic – Bioluminescence Night Kayaking
Lough Hyne in West Cork may be hiding many mysteries in its depths which are large enough to hide a 14-story building but the real magic happens right at the surface.
The team at Atlantic Sea Kayak get you into a two-person canoe and bring you to the darkest corner of the Lough to witness this incredible phenomenon.
The best bit? They have a ban on phones, cameras and torches so your eyes adjust to the dark and just when you think you’ve paddled out for nothing, a strange blue glow will start to emanate from the water.
This might not be an adrenaline-pumping adventure like the others, but it definitely takes your breath away.
Another advantage of heading out to West Cork is just how remote it is. Casual visitors and large tour busses tend to stay away from the winding roads, so wild camping is quite easy here. If that’s not your thing, nearby towns of Skibbereen, Baltimore and Union Hall all have paid camping locations.
Why Bunk Campers?
Interested in lacing up your boots and attempting one (or all) of these adventure activities on your campervan hire holiday in Ireland? Whether you want to test your mettle on the cliffs of Kerry or relax and take in the sights of the rugged causeway coast, the keys to your camper await.
Book you adventure now by using the booking bar on our website, email [email protected] or call our team on +44(0)2890813057.