Camper Van Trip from Wicklow to Cork

Hook Head Lighthouse Waterford

We started this trip from Sharon and Leighton’s wedding in the beautiful Kippure Estate in Wicklow in August. After a fab two night stay at the wedding, we set off in our home for the week; a bright orange converted VW camper van, courtesy of the lovely Eoin De Barra. We planned a week’s trip in the Sunny South East with no set itinerary other than to eat well and to hopefully get as far as Kinsale.

Before we even got to the wedding, Military road in Wicklow was a revelation; so close to my cousin’s house in south Dublin and to many of the places I lived in Dublin over the years, yet I’d never been before. Stunning! The wedding was fab too; the ceremony and meal were held outdoors with the mountains all around us but we moved indoors as the night wore on. Everyone stayed on site in the lovely self-catering houses. Many thanks to Sharon and Leighton; we had a great time!


After two nights of celebrating, we were off on our latest big adventure. On that first day and night, we stopped at Avoca cafe (not nearly as good as the one in Dublin), visited Glendalough and parked up at The Raven nature reserve in Wexford. The next day we headed into Wexford town (which was buzzing – despite all the gloom you hear in the media it seems at least one Irish town is thriving) and on to do the worthwhile tour of Hook Head lighthouse. We passed some time in their painting workshop also which left us with two painted slate masterpieces, before driving on to the pretty seaside village of Duncannon. Here we decided we needed showers (sadly lacking in our home on wheels) so we booked into what turned out to be a gorgeous B&B ‘Sea Shells’: We had a living area with sea view, dining area, TV and tea/coffee facilities all to ourselves, as well as a lovely bedroom and breakfast. It was better than any hotel and great value! In Duncannon, we also visited the Cockleshell art gallery in the Fort where we were both impressed with the fishing industry-insprired exhibition ‘Rubby Dubby & Frilly Oilskins’.

Sea Shells B&B, Duncannon Ardmore

We travelled from Duncannon on to Ardmore (via the car ferry where we spent two nights by the beach in the van. While there, we ate in the Cliff House Hotel, which had just recently gained a Michelin star for it’s restaurant. We hadn’t booked ahead so could only get a table in the bar and while it was good it didn’t quite meet our expectations, which perhaps were just a little too high! Overall, we loved Ardmore, the weather was good and we enjoyed pottering around the cafes and gift shops, a bit of (unsuccessful) fishing and the cliff walk.

Ardmore, Waterford Ardmore

After stopping off for a nice lunch at Ballymaloe cafe we made our way on to lovely Kinsale where we spent our last two nights. We decided again that some extra facilities would be nice so we checked into Garretstown House Holiday Park for the first night. We went the whole hog here and actually set up our table, chairs and canopy to enjoy a romantic night in! As you can see it was very fancy; champagne and strawberries followed by sausage, egg and spuds! This park is close to Kinsale and seemed a God-send for families as it was really set up for kids. For us it meant the luxury of connecting to a power source and having washing/toilet facilities. Holidaying in a camper-van in Ireland can be a bit of a challenge as it’s relatively expensive to stay in campsites (and many of them are just not worth it) yet it felt a bit funny just parking by the side of the road. I think I was just getting into it as the week was coming to a close!

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While in Kinsale we wandered round the shops, ate and drank well, attempted some more fishing (without luck, again) and on the last night we met up with some lads we knew who were on a stag. We also had a delicious meal in Fishy Fishy. All great craic but not so good the next morning when I woke in a very warm campervan parked in a public place at 7am, dying for the loo! After hopping in behind the wheel to find a suitable spot to relieve myself, we had the bizarre experience of coming across a group of battle re-enactment actors, clad in full regalia and getting ready to duel at Charles Fort. From what I gather, they had arrived early to put on a show as part of National Heritage Week later that day. We didn’t hang round to see them though; instead we set off back to Dublin with a vague plan to return the camper and drive on to Sligo later that day, in time to join in the fun of the Warrior’s Run at home in Strandhill. Alas, it was not to be as the vans engine died in the middle of the M50 and our trip ended slightly prematurely in a carpark near the Firhouse exit, where we were kindly rescued by my cousin Serena. Another night of fun in her house followed before we headed West the next day. Last we heard the van was back on the road and in reasonably good health; thanks again to Eoin for the loan; it did the job nicely and gave us a chance to see another part of our lovely small wee country on the cheap!


DSC_0200 Last night of holiday, back in Serena's

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