Ireland is a land of sheep, rolling green hills and friendly people. Described like that, it sounds just like New Zealand. There really are so many similarities. My favourite is the number of stuffed sheep toys available in the souvenir stores. Traveling around Ireland feels like coming home.
We spent 10 days in a Wicked Camper traveling around Ireland. We started from Dublin, where the only Wicked Camper office is located. Our first van, Flipper, had some mechanical issues and we found ourselves heading back to the depot only 30 minutes out of Dublin. Luckily, this was the last of the issues and we were once again on the road, with our new van Monsters. Our first stop was Gyles Quay, only a few hours out of Dublin. It was a lovely seaside retreat and a great start to our trip.
From Gyles Quay we headed to Belfast. We spent the day driving along the coast, past the many small communities. In Belfast we started at the Peace Wall, which gave us a shock back to reality. Northern Ireland has had a difficult history, which is still evident today. Whilst it is definitely worth a visit, I wouldn’t go here first, as it can start you off on a scary impression. We checked out the Titanic museum and the Belfast Castle. This was where we had our first Guinness in the afternoon sun. That evening we stayed at the Loughshore Caravan Park, just outside of Belfast.
Leaving Belfast, we followed the steep, narrow, winding lanes to Torr Head. This was the closest point between Ireland and Scotland, and was also excessively windy. The Giant’s Causeway took us along a breathtaking trail to the Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Center. We had a look around and listened to the painful audio guide, before getting caught in a downpour. We then headed on to Portstewart, where we stayed with a friend’s family. The next day we walked along the headlands back towards the Giant’s Causeway. Then we went to a re-wedding in a beautiful Irish church, followed by a reception in the breath-taking Drenagh House.
We left Northern Ireland and headed for Rosguill Campground, on a northern spit of Ireland. The beach was cold, but very peaceful. The following day we drove along more iconic Irish lanes and drove quite a distance. We got lost following Google Maps directions, but managed to reach Ben Bulben, a large hill. We stopped at the Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, which was an ancient pile of rocks…. uh… tombs. You needed to have a fair amount of imagination to really connect with the place. The we stayed at the Salthill Caravan Park near Galway. Ben went for a swim, despite the water being very frigid.
Galway was a fun city and we enjoyed watching the street performer’s antics. We walked the brick streets and checked out the souvenir stores. We admired Father Ted’s house and the Cliffs of Moher. We spent a night at the Adare Campground, before heading to the Blarney Castle for a famous kiss. I was forced to GermX my lips after I realized that over a million sloppy kisses have been placed on the rock. I now have the gift of the gab. We continued on to Kinsale, which was a let down. Then stayed at Tree Grove, just outside of Kilkenny. We started the next day with an early brew and then returned the van to Dublin.
That concluded our 10 day van road trip around Ireland. It was fantastic fun and one I would highly recommend. We then spent two days exploring Dublin. The obvious attraction was the Guinness Storehouse. We even learnt the art of pouring the perfect pint!
Click here to check out the rest of Europe.