Ireland in 2017 - The West Coast with a bit of Co.Meath and Dublin

Setting off from Leicestershire, probably the most daunting part of the forthcoming holiday was getting to Holyhead via the roadwork enhanced M6 and the never ending A55 Expressway.
However with two and a half weeks ahead to enjoy the Emerald Isle this is just a minor task for a bigger reward.


To break up the journey we sort out an overnight stop at a BritStop listed pub near Holywell overlooking the River Dee estuary where, after a few relaxing pints and some journey planning a good night’s sleep was had. A morning dog walk, diesel and gas fill up and we we were on the way to Holyhead to meet the Stena Adventurer for our trip across the Irish Sea to Dublin Port.

The Stena Plus upgrade was well worth the small supplementary charge giving us a large lounge area to relax in with complimentary drinks and snacks, a forward facing view across the sea and a waiter service lunch menu.

Just after three hours of one of the calmest Irish Sea crossings I have ever known we were quickly onto the dry land of Dublin Port and onto the M50 Dublin Semi-Orbital Motorway via a long tunnel with a €10 toll for the motorhome.

Our first night in Ireland was a visit to relatives in rural central Co. Meath where we parked up on a cousin’s driveway and enjoyed an evening of real Irish hospitality with more than enough to eat and drink and plenty of Craic.

While in the area we visited Trim, a lively market town and Hill of Tara, the seat of ancient Irish Kings.

Next day, a very hot and humid day, it was time to head west where a night stop has was had near Athlone before making our way to Westport House Caravan and Camping Park on the Wild Atlantic Way West Coast Route.

Now we are in proper Irish weather of all four seasons in one day and often in a couple of hours, a theme that carried on for the next two weeks. After checking in at the very friendly reception we found a level parking area in the large undulating Camping Field not far from the central facilities block. 

Using the cycle paths and a little bit of pubic road we took a ride out to the Quays a relatively new area with plenty of shops and bars, one of which we took refuse in as the heavens opened. A couple of pints of Guinness and we made our way back to the site which has a bar and cafe of its own, Gracys featuring a wood fired Pizza Oven and live music.

Day two at Westport included a walk through the extensive gardens to Westport House itself. Originally built from 1730 it is steeped in history and has some great views from the upper floors. Ideal for the little ones is the adjoining Pirate Adventure Park.

Now it was off to Galway a few days ahead of the Races which I understand make this very busy city even busier. Camping this time was at Salthill Caravan and Camping Park a quite utilitarian venue with signs everywhere for everything and then some more. Squeezing our large motorhome onto a hard standing pitch near the facilities offered a view across the bay.

With the handy bus stop near the entrance to the site it was easy to get into the centre of this vibrant city. With street theatre and dozens of busy pubs nearly all with live music it is certainly an experience not to be missed.

Now we travelled south and west into Co.Claire around the Burren with some steep and narrow roads and out to Doolin arriving to a very friendly welcome from Ken the proprietor of Nagles Doolin Camping and Caravan Park which is right beside the pier and has great views of the Cliffs of Moher. On site every pitch has full facilities, there is a useful camping shop and general store at the reception and a high quality modern toilet shower block to the inland part of the site. A mile or so down the road the village has a selection of good pubs with great music, restaurants and shops. 

From the pier boat trips are available to the Aran Isles or an hour along the Cliffs of Moher. You do need you sea legs as even when everything books calm, the Atlantic is indeed Wild. Certainly an area for extremes of weather. Day one severe gales and heavy rain. Day two wall to wall sunshine and not even a breeze.

Following the main road parts of the Wild Atlantic Way it was further South and West to Co.Kerry and Woodlands Park at Tralee. Another friendly welcome from the proprietor, Michael. Nestled in a peaceful countryside setting the site is only a few minutes walk from Tralee town centre and many other attractions. With three camping areas and many pitches with all facilities, a campers kitchen, an all weather BBQ area and a playground this is an ideal family site.

Onto the Ring of Kerry, anti-clockwise as recommended to avoid tourist coaches coming the other way, our next site was Mannix Point facing Valentia Island and on the edge of Cahirciveen town. Mortimer welcomed us at the reception office tucked away between the toilets and showers, a fully equipped campers kitchen, music room, a picnic garden and BBQ area. Pitches here were wonderfully haphazard and were taken up by visitors from many diverse parts of the world. Not far from the entrance was a good supermarket and along the road into a town packed with all the shops, bars and entrances you could wish for where the annual festival was taking place when we visited.

Next it was time to carry on round the Ring of Kerry, stopping for a night at the Sneem Aire enjoying a pint if the sunshine in the early evening, but leaving the following day in persistent rain. 

Stunning views in the Killarney National Park on the way to Flesk Caravan and Camping Park. Next to a hotel, a take-way, a bike hire shop and not far from the town this was  a very busy site with pitches only just big enough. Not surprising in the tourist capital of Ireland which as been hosting overseas visitors since Victorian times.

All good things have to come to an end and the last but one day meant the long drive from the South West back towards Dublin, a lot easier these days since motorways arrived in Ireland.

The final night was at Camac Valley Tourist Caravan and Camping Park to the South West of the Irish Capital. A well run large site with large individual pitches many bordered by hedges. Dublin City Hop on Hop off bus tours run from the site and there is a regular bus stop just outside the entrance for easy access to the city centre. A good evening was had in the centre of the city, but about Dublin another time.

Drove back to Dublin Port through the middle of Dublin following the River Liffey a lot of the way. Traffic was heavy, but got to the port in plenty of time ready for another smooth crossing to Holyhead and home to Leicestershire.

Be prepared for a mixed bag of weather including some hot sunshine, then enjoy the hospitality and craic on offer and anyone will enjoy a visit to Ireland. 

This was a relativity short visit only experiencing a few of the delights of Ireland. There is lots more to see in other regions and of course the Capital City which needs a few days on its own!

Posted: 12 Jan 2018