We had not been to Ireland in Deep Red, but when the Motorcaravanners' Club chose to hold their Annual Rally in late May at Lisburn, near Belfast, and had negotiated a super deal on the Stena ferry crossings at £175 return (half the normal fare for a motorhome), we decided the opportunity was too good to miss. We chose the Fishguard to Rosslare crossing, the idea being to spend a few days meandering through some of southern Ireland before heading north to the rally.
LPG. Whilst we planned to mostly use campsites and mains hook-up, for the five days at the rally we would use gas and, if necessary, use it for heating the van at night. We had a list of LPG stations in Northern Ireland from local MCC members (and did top up the tank in Enniskillen), but in the Republic as elsewhere, lists are often unreliable as LPG stations come and go.
One useful source for LPG is the website: www.mylpg.eu.
The Camping Ireland campsite guide we used, see: www.campingireland.ie.
Lists about 90 'registered and inspected' campsites around Ireland. Useful guide, but let down by a confused index of site and page numbering by geographical area that made finding a particular site from the guide map a bit of a nightmare.
There are a few official 'Aires' (like those in France), and many wild camping places. Reliable information on these and general information on motorhoming in Ireland can be found on the excellent
We couldn't find a decent Michelin map so used an AA 3 miles to 1 inch version. Although many tiny roads were drawn, often the villages along them were not shown. One thing to remember was in the Republic the speed limits and distances are in kilometres; in Northern Ireland it's mph.
Parking in many town car parks we visited, and laybys close to beauty spots, was often impossible for motorhomers' due to low height barriers. In Waterford we gave up trying to find anywhere to stop, all the car parks along the busy quay had barriers it seemed. So much for tourism.
As the port of Fishguard on the Welsh coast is 260 miles from home, and we had to be at the ferry terminal by 1.30pm, rather than rush unnecessarily we broke our journey by stopping overnight at The Rising Sun Inn at Pelcomb Bridge, near Haverfordwest. A lovely little pub with a delightful campsite at the rear.
Lunchtime stop in a small parking area by the rocky beach at Fishguard before boarding the ferry.
St. Margaret's Bay campsite, just a few miles south from Rosslare port, Co Wexford. Our first overnight stop in Ireland, cost 24 Euros, inc electric. Very clean and tidy site and popular with folks catching the ferry; although one had to negotiate some narrow one-track roads to get to it! The sea was a short walk away.
A German-built self-build van at Newtown Cove campsite, a few miles south of Waterford. Just north of the site is Tramore with its long sandy beach and, unusually, easy parking for motorhomes.
Following the back roads along the coast from Tramore towards Dungarvan.
For the first three days we never had any rain. It did change later on, but apart from the time at the rally (where it rained most days), showers never lasted for long. We actually got used to the changeable weather, and often didn't even notice that it was raining!
One rare delightful stopping place that didn't have a height barrier!
Idyllic location overlooking Bantry Bay. Eagle Point campsite, Ballylickey.
Cattle on the move on the road to Killarney.
Two views along the beautiful and unspoilt Kerry Peninsula following the popular 'Ring of Kerry' tourist route. In late May the traffic was very light.
It is recommended that one travels around the ring in an anti-clockwise direction as the tour buses go that way; the road in places is very narrow and passing difficult with a motorhome.
Tralee campsite just south of the town. Friendly owner was keen to chat and gave us a lot of useful information about the area. Quite a mix of motorhomes camped here from Germany, France, Netherlands....
Outside of towns and inland the level of traffic was often sparse!
In Mountshannon, Co. Clare. By Lough Derg on the River Shannon. Although this was a 'holiday park' with many facilities, being out of season it was deserted. The puddles remain after some heavy and prolonged overnight rain.
The view across Lough Derg from our pitch.
Battlebridge campsite, Leitrim village, near Carrick-on-Shannon. One site that didn't quite live up to its advertising... The on-site pub that served 'gourmet pub food' was shut - it only opened on Thursday to Sunday (it was Wednesday). The tap water, we discovered after filling our tank, was not fit for drinking... The high-tech electronically-controlled site gate that worked on number-plate recognition steadfastly refused to open for both a German campervan and the local builder's car who was working on the on-going refurbishment of the toilet block!
Our pitch at The Motorcaravanners Club rally site. No, don't believe all you see - there had been a big show the week before and they were still clearing up! The ground isn't mud, but forest bark chips.
Our view, just part of the huge Balmoral Showground site at Lisburn, nr Belfast, N.Ireland. The rally attracted 450 motorcaravans, but, oddly, we hardly saw any other 'vans on our travels.
Mad Mumsie supports part of the Giant's Causeway that is about to fall over...
It is a remarkable site and well worth a visit. There is a shuttle bus from the entrance down to the site if one cannot walk far.
The coastline looking west from the Giant's Causeway. The coast road to here from Belfast is a lovely drive.
The campsite at Bushmills, just a few miles inland from the Giant's Causeway. An immaculately kept site - it would even put the Caravan Club to shame!
Heading slowly back south for the return crossing and the beautiful square in the village of Stradbally, Laois. We took a detour to go there as it had a Steam Museum (it was shut!). The grey object just behind the van is one of several permanent artworks on the green. We saw no litter or grafitti.
O'Donnells Bar, Bennettsbridge, just south of Kilkenny. Guess where we are!
Note the lack of yellow lines and parking meters; only rarely did we see these, and then only in the big towns.
Meylers Millhouse bar, Tacumshane, Co. Wexford. Although the Tacumshane lake is shown on our AA map, the village isn't! A few miles south west from Rosslare, just follow the road signs - the effort was worth while as the food is excellent. Motorhomes are welcome to stop overnight in the car park.
The restored windmill at Tacumshane and sited just behind the Millhouse bar.
On the dock at Rosslare. We really would love to go back and see more, but, frankly, the unwelcoming height barriers and cost of the ferry are not encouraging...