Campervan Hire Ireland
Ireland is an exceptional country to explore by campervan thanks to its fairly mild temperatures, quiet roads and remarkable panoramas. Whether it’s for just a few days or a weeks-long excursion, the Emerald Isle’s hundreds of miles of defined driving routes cater to every taste, from immersing yourself in the country’s history to exploring its wild, untamed nature. Offering the freedom to roam where you choose, going by road is a great way to experience everything the country has to offer. Here is everything you need to know about travelling Ireland by campervan.
Best Campervan Rental Ireland
While it’s easy to rent a campervan in Ireland, there are a few things that you need to know. Naturally, you will need a valid licence and a credit card, though some companies will require you to have had your licence for at least eight years. Age limits also vary by company, but most won’t rent to anyone under the age of 25. If you are over the age of 75, you may need to meet additional requirements. All good campervan rental companies should have their particular rules clearly stated on their website.
In the Republic of Ireland, speed limits are posted in kilometres, but this will change to miles should you cross the border into Northern Ireland. In general, speed limits are between 80 and 120 kilometres per hour. Of course, extra care should be taken on Ireland’s many narrow and one-lane roads.
If you are considering taking any ferry crossings during your trip, it’s worth checking any restrictions with the ferry operator before you arrive at the port, though this shouldn’t generally be a problem.
When To Go
While Ireland is beautiful all year round, those travelling by campervan would do best to avoid the winter months, not only for its colder climate but because most camping sites will be closed. Unsurprisingly, the weather is likely to be best during the summer months (though there are never any promises). But along with sunny skies come crowds of tourists hoping to make the most of the country’s many attractions. In fact, during its peak season, Ireland has more visitors than it does residents.
If you can, arrange your trip for the spring months of April, May or early June, when the weather still has a chance of being pleasant but the roads are significantly quieter. Similarly, September or October is a great time to visit. The crowds will have long since returned home, but the days are still long enough to enjoy some time outdoors.
No matter what time of year you visit, you should come prepared for any weather. Even in the summer, temperatures rarely go above 21 °C (70 °F) and rain is a possibility all year round. Pack layers and a waterproof, and be sure to bring weather-appropriate shoes
Where To Stay
Planning in advance where you are going to stay the night, as you’ll find that many spots, including car parks and roadsides, will have prominent signage prohibiting overnight stays. Many car parks will even have barriers that prevent campervans from gaining access.
Fortunately, there are over a hundred campsites across Ireland where you can spend a night under the stars. Camping Ireland is a great resource for finding campsites that accept campervans. These can get booked up fast in the peak season, so be sure to make your arrangements well ahead of time.
Where To Go
Exploring Ireland by campervan is a fantastic way to take in the huge number of sights that the country has to offer. There are several established routes for a campervan holiday, covering all sides of the country and each offering something different. Wherever you choose to take your campervan, we’d advise accounting for more time than you think. Speed limits are low and many of the roads are long and winding, lined with a wealth of beauty spots you won’t want to miss.
Ireland’s Ancient East by Campervan
As the name suggests, Ireland’s Ancient East is rich with history, with medieval castles, prehistoric tombs and heritage houses never too far away. It stretches down through 15 counties, boasting miles of unspoiled coastline and lush green landscapes.
Here are just a few highlights of the Ancient East.
Founded by the Vikings, Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city. You can trace its heritage at the Viking Triangle, where you’ll find three different museums charting its long history, including the imposing stone fortress of Reginald’s Tower. Here, you can climb its narrow staircase and look out over the city, imagining it as it once was back in the 13th century.
One of Ireland’s most vibrant cities, Kilkenny is a cultural hub for music, comedy and the arts. Once the unofficial capital of the country, along the high street you’ll find ‘medieval mile’, home to the Rothe House Museum, the 13th century St Canice’s Cathedral and of course, Kilkenny Castle.
Rock of Cashel
This distinctive limestone crag is said to be where King Aenghus of Munster was baptised by the legendary St Patrick, and today is one of Europe’s most remarkable examples of medieval architecture. This historic site rises above the picturesque plains of Tipperary, and includes a round tower, cathedral, chapel and castle.
Hill of Tara
This ancient ceremonial and burial site in County Meath lies at the heart of the country’s history, even appearing in Irish mythology. An incredible 142 kings went there to be crowned in the presence of the Lia Fáil, a coronation stone which still stands to this day amongst numerous other monuments and even a passage tomb.
Ireland’s West & The Wild Atlantic Way by Campervan
Untamed Irish landscapes await along the Wild Atlantic Way, where you’ll find over 2,500 km of coastal road. The soaring cliffs and rocky headlands make for an unforgettable journey, with charming stretches of long, open road, and a palpable sense of adventure in the air. There are endless opportunities to stop and enjoy the beauty of Irelands rugged Atlantic coast including the must see attractions like the cliffs of Moher and Dingle. However, here are some of our favourite stops along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Get away from it all in this remote region where at certain times of the year you might even spot the Northern Lights. This untouched land has some of Europe’s highest sea cliffs, with reviving sea air and a spectacular view. One of the Wild Atlantic Way’s most far-flung corners, it’s an experience you’ll never forget
Arguably one of the most spectacular bays in Ireland, Clew Bay is dotted with small islands (according to legend, one for every day of the year). Take a stroll along one of the many beaches, or even admire it from the peak of Croagh Patrick. Its natural beauty is truly a sight to behold.
A city brimming with Irish culture, Galway’s maze of cobbled streets are filled with art galleries, boutiques and traditional pubs where you can easily while away a day of your trip. Known as the City of Tribes, it has a jam packed cultural calendar and a thriving foodie scene.
The Causeway Coast
Home to more Game of Thrones filming locations than anywhere else on earth, you can transport yourself to Westeros in your very own campervan. Travel deep into the Haunted Forest and see where the War of Five Kings began; head to the home of the infamous Ironborn and explore the lair of the Lightning Lord. Even if you aren’t a Game of Thrones fan, there’s still plenty that this rugged coast has to offer. Here are some spots you won’t want to miss.
The Giant’s Causeway
A trip to this region wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the iconic Giant’s Causeway, a geological wonder and a UNESCO heritage site. Its thousands of stone columns are flanked by the wild North Atlantic, where they emerged almost 60 million years ago. Totally unique and epic in proportions, the Giant’s Causeway delights and inspires all who see it.
Take a break from your drive and head out on foot over the 30 metre high Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Originally erected for fishermen to catch salmon, today the bridge remains as a connecting route between the Country Antim mainland and Carrick Island. See the waves swirling beneath you and feel the sea salt in the air as you cross, rewarded by stunning views that on good days stretch as far as Scotland.
This clifftop castle creates a romantic vision set against the Antrim coast. Perched precariously at the edge of a clifftop, this medieval ruin holds many historical secrets and gives an eye-opening glimpse into Irish life in centuries past.
With so much to see and explore, travelling Ireland by campervan is a truly memorable experience. It takes a little bit of planning to ensure you get the most out of your trip and avoid landing in any sticky situations. But no matter how long you are going for or which route you choose to drive, you are bound to be awe-struck by Ireland’s inherent beauty and charmed by its traditional feel.
Discover Ireland – Features comprehensive information and listings for activities, events and tourist attractions.
St Patricks Festival – If you are travelling to Ireland in March stpatricksfestival.ie has all the details on events around the country.
An Garda Siochana – The national police service of the Republic of Ireland. Here you will find all the relevant contact number in case of an emergency during your travels
Pitchup – Great resource for finding paid camping areas
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About the Author
Karl O’Brien is a writer and adventure traveller from Dublin, Ireland. He has been travelling the world since his late teens. His adventures have taken him to the far reaches of the globe including most of Europe, North & South America, New Zealand, Australia, South East Asia and the Middle East. When he is not planning his next adventure Karl can be found building and renovating campervans.