An Unmissable Itinerary for your Irish Campervan Road Trip 2022 – Guest Blog
“We’re Robert & Mary, “empty-nesters” from the USA (East Tennessee, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains to be more exact) who enjoy camping when we can. I had the idea to travel to Ireland for a major birthday; Robert had the idea to camp. He contacted a friend of ours from Great Britain who recommended Bunk Campers for our motorhome hire needs.
Robert likes to research everything before he does anything and he thought Bunk Campers looked great and reputable. We found that Bunk Campers offer a wide range of 2-6 berth vehicles available for hire. We opted for the 2 berth Aero campervan hire: big enough for both of us yet small enough to navigate the narrow Irish roads.
I travelled to Ireland in 2017 so I had a good idea of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. Number 1 on my list was to stay away from tourists as much as possible. I wanted to get out of the cities and meet the Irish people and see the countryside. Based on that, and the fact that it was “low season” (or, “off-season” as we call it in the States), I based the itinerary on what campsites were open.
- Beara Peninsula
- Hook Peninsula
- Wicklow area
We began and ended in Bunk Campers Depot in Dublin. Mark at Bunk Campers was fantastic and went above and beyond by finding us a place to stay the first night. Mark found Moycarn Lodge and Marina roughly halfway between Dublin and Galway that allowed us to stay in the parking lot. It was a quiet place to lay our heads for the first night and I felt completely safe.
The next morning, we were on the way to Clifden Eco Beach Camping and Caravan Park. We had no trouble finding the park. There is a gate you have to have the code for so it feels pretty secure. Kris & Tatjana were great hosts. Kris drove us into town (for a small fee) and picked us up when we were ready to come back. The views were absolutely stunning.
Showers are available; Wi-Fi is available in the common areas. There is electricity available at the campsites. Also available is a camper kitchen…something we have a hard time finding in the US.
Our only complaint with the campground is that we didn’t get to stay longer! We would definitely go back and see other things in the area. We only went into town to eat and grab some groceries. As you’re traveling from Galway to Clifden, definitely stop at Sullivan’s Country Grocer in Oughterard. The young lady next to me during the flight over recommended it to us and she was spot on! Excellent coffee and amazing freshly-baked pastries. They’re known for their cinnamon rolls but trust me…anything you purchase will be heaven. We liked it so much that we stopped again the next day on our way to Killarney!
If you’re looking for sites “off the beaten path”, definitely stop at Kilkee Cliffs instead of Cliffs of Moher. There are no walls or fences so be extremely careful about how close you walk to the edge of the cliffs. It’s really windy there; I can see how someone could get swept off of the cliffs in a heartbeat. At one point, we were the only people out there.
Our next stop was Fossa Caravan and Camping Park. The campground has a camp kitchen, laundry, free Wi-Fi as well as free showers, and was extremely clean. The huge plus was that it was very close to everything. The greatest plus of all is Derry, the owner. He was absolutely fantastic with giving us recommendations and calling cabs for us. Robert left his smartwatch in the shower stall and didn’t realize it until the next day. Derry found it and sent it to our home address!
Even though the campground was quite crowded, it was quiet at night. There is an excellent restaurant above the campground office (The Mute Swan) …make sure you eat breakfast here. They have a great traditional Irish breakfast with extremely generous portions.
During our day in Killarney, we visited Ross Castle and walked back to town through the National Park. We saw a herd of Irish Red Deer lounging in a field. They were incredible: the antlers were spectacular!
To get here, we had a couple of different options for our route. I wanted to drive more through the Killarney National Park so we ended up taking a windy, sometimes narrow road on the Ring of Kerry. This is the view from Ladies’ View:
We stopped at Molly Gallivan’s Cottage and Traditional Farm. There is a poitin (Irish moonshine) still and a druid site there. In fact, there’s a lot more there than I realized. Across the street, there is a Druid figure looking across the valley.
Our next campground was Hungry Hill Lodge and Campsite. I think this was my favorite campground. It is nestled in front of a mountain that was a nice backdrop for our stay.
There are laundry facilities as well as a camper’s kitchen, free showers, free electricity, and Wi-Fi. When we arrived, Jamie & Daniel were the consummate hosts. They were so incredibly helpful with everything. There is a small grocer within walking distance but it has limited products. We were able to buy a few things as well as some homemade sandwiches.
We went into Castletownbere the next day. That turned out to be a good decision. During lunch, Adrienne in MacCarthy’s Bar recommended that we drive to Kilcatherine, a medieval church built on the remains of a 7th-century monastery. The views were some of the best we saw while in Ireland.
We also drove by Puxley Mansion. We weren’t able to get very close; apparently it has recently been bought. There were fences all around it due to renovations.
Dunboy Castle is now in ruins and is close to the mansion. We didn’t realize that was where we were since it isn’t marked very well. It does require a short walk to reach.
So far, we met some super friendly people and saw some spectacular sights that we wouldn’t have seen if we were on a tour. We had one more campground to go during our Ireland Adventure.
Our last campground wasn’t actually on Hook Peninsula but it was close to it. I met a lady at the campground in Clifden, from County Wexford. When I told her that was one of our stops, she asked where we were staying. She confirmed that it was a good place to stay. Roches Caravan and Campsite is situated on a working farm. In fact, the owner was up and, on his tractor, early that morning. We had a beautiful spot right on Bannow Bay and could see where the Normans landed in 1169 AD.
At the campground there are nice shower/toilets, a camp kitchen, gathering area, and free electricity. There is no internet, but that wasn’t very important to us. During the summer they have live music. Overall, it was a good stay.
The lady I talked to in Clifden made me promise to visit Tintern Abbey and Hook Lighthouse. I told her the reason we were staying at Roches was because of the lighthouse but I didn’t know about Tintern Abbey. We hit the Abbey first.
It was pretty impressive, especially given that it was built in the 1200s and lived in until 1959. If you visit, make sure you walk around to the bridge and the church. The bridge is an 18th-century battlemented bridge.
After the Abbey, we headed farther south to the Hook Lighthouse. This is the oldest operational lighthouse in the world! It was built approximately 800 years ago but before that, monks used lanterns to warn ships of land. The lighthouse is still in operation today.
We wanted to stay in Wexford so we were hoping to find a parking lot like the one we saw in Castletownbere. We found Wexford to be crowded and busy. We decided to just head up R761 and see if we could find someplace. As we entered Newcastle looking for someplace to grab some groceries (otherwise we would be eating buttered pasta) Robert spotted The Castle Inn. Robert went in and spoke with the manager who said we could stay the night.
We were able to get some fantastic food, a couple of pints of Guinness, and we splurged on dessert. The manager gave us about half a loaf of brown bread after Robert mentioned how much we enjoyed having it for breakfast with butter and jam. After we had our breakfast (of buttered brown bread and jam) we headed toward the Wicklow Mountains. I’m a huge fan of the movie “PS I Love You” and wanted to see where part of the movie was filmed. I also wanted to visit Glendalough; a monastic city founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century.
Take time to look around and read the plaques. While we were there, we saw 3 or 4 tour buses come and go. I told Robert that this is exactly why motorhome hire is better than tours: You get off the tour bus, walk around, you’re told what you’re seeing, and then you get back on the bus. There’s no time to take your own time and really experience the adventure.
We were on the hunt for a place to park for the night. There were some pull-offs on the road that looked like possibilities, but my concern was someone flying down the road in a car or motorcycle would crash into our campervan hire in the middle of the night. We found Turlough Hill Car Park; a parking lot that is open 24 hours. We settled in and enjoyed the view.
After that night we drove a little more than an hour to turn in the campervan rental. It was really sad having to say goodbye!
We would definitely plan another trip using Bunk Campers. We were provided with everything we needed for a comfortable, enjoyable vacation. The bed was unbelievably comfortable. I can’t imagine having a better night’s sleep in a B&B and definitely not in a hotel. Having a campervan rental meant we were able to see the real Ireland: not the touristy Ireland, but to really get out and meet the Irish and see the gorgeous country. Thank you, Bunk Campers for a trip of a lifetime!
For more detailed information about each campground, visit Flyin’ the Coop.”
Why Bunk Campers?
Well aside from this glowing review from our wonderful guests, Bunk Campers have a large fleet of 2-6 berth campervans available for motorhome hire to suit all groups and budgets from our depots located across the UK and Ireland.
We also provide pet-friendly holidays, one-way trips and unlimited mileage, so what are you waiting for? Get an instant quote now from the booking widget on our website, email [email protected] or call our team on +44(0)2890813057.