Life Ireland

Wednesday 24 September 2014

10 best Irish Camping Sites

Published 15/08/2009 | 00:00

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Cong Caravan and Camping Park is near to Lough Mask and Lough Corrib

You don't need to venture much further than your front door for great camping and caravan grounds this summer. Here are Pól ó Conghaile's favourite sites across the country.

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Nore Valley Park, Co Kilkenny

Samuel and Isobel Harper's home at Bennettsbridge, Co Kilkenny, houses not just a camping and caravan park, but also an open farm -- a family double-whammy.

Children can pitch in with animal feeding, and there's free hot water and a midnight curfew on socialising.

Isobel provides homemade bread, pizza and quiches for the on-site shop, and there's a 3D maze, crazy golf and pedal go-karts for a small extra charge.

Last year, it won Fáilte Ireland's 'Best Family-Friendly Site' award.

Contact: Tel: 056 772 7229 or see norevalleypark.com.

Price: Caravans and motorhomes, €26-€27; hikers/cyclists, €8pp.

Dates: March 1 to October 31.

Extras: Electricity (€3), showers (free).

Camac Valley, Co Dublin

Clondalkin isn't the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of camping, but Camac Valley Park could change that.

With 163 pitches just off the M50, this site gets a lot of business from concert-goers and ferries, though facilities including a children's playground, putting green, free Wi-Fi and 24/7 security make it handy for families, too.

It's just a short bus ride from the city and a stone's throw from Corkagh Park and its fishing lakes (free fishing-rod hire for guests).

Contact: Tel: 01-464 0644 or see camacvalley.com.

Prices: Caravans, tents and motorhomes, €19-€26; hikers/ cyclists, €10pp.

Dates: Year-round.

Extras: Electricity (€5), showers (€1.50).

Curragh Chase Forest Park, Co Limerick

One of three forest holiday sites operated by Coillte (the others are Avondale in Co Wicklow and Lough Key in Co Roscommon), Curragh Chase is 33km southwest of Limerick City at Kilcornan. The park incorporates all the forest walks and nature trails you'd expect (some trees are up to 200-years-old), but also the ruins of Curragh Chase House, the 18th-century home of poet Aubrey de Vere. A recreation room, kitchen and outdoor children's play area are also on-site.

Contact: Tel: 061 396349 or see coillte.ie.

Prices: Caravans and motorhomes, €20; tents, €8pp.

Dates: Easter, then May 1 to September 7.

Extras: Electricity (€3), showers (free), parking (€5 barrier charge).

Wave Crest Caravan Park, Co Kerry

Situated on a south-facing hill near Caherdaniel, Wave Crest Park has the pick of Kerry views. "In the past few weeks we've had dolphins out here in front of us," says Bríd O'Shea, which no doubt adds to the site's popularity with active families. Facilities include a hot and cold deli, TV and games rooms, boat launching and mooring and fishing supplies. The blue flag beach at Derrynane is within a 5km drive, as are activities such as beach-trekking, surfing and the Kerry Way.

Contact: Tel: 066 947 5188 or see wavecrestcamping.com.

Prices: Caravans, tents and motorhomes, €27; hikers/ cyclists, €8.50.

Dates: March 15 to October 15.

Extras: Showers (€1), electricity (€4).

Carnfunnock Country Park, Co Antrim

Run by Larne Borough Council, this cosy site hosts just 31 pitches, but its location in Carnfunnock Park means the facilities punch above their weight. Situated on the Antrim coast between Drains Bay and Ballgally, guests can avail (at a charge) of a family fun zone (with mini-golf, bouncy castle, laser clay-pigeon shooting and mini-railway), nine-hole golf course and biodiversity trail.

Details: Tel: 0044 282 827 0541 or see www.larne.gov.uk.

Price: Caravans and motor-homes, £15-£17 (€17.70-€20); tents, £8-£17 (€9.44-€20).

Dates: March 13 to November 1.

Extras: Electricity and showers (both free).

Battlebridge Caravan & Camping Park, Co Leitrim

'Small is beautiful' could be the motto for this 30-pitch plot, half a mile from Leitrim village. Joe and Eilish Beirne's camping site has a playground, games room, giant chess set and slipway for boating, but the main draw is its location on the River Shannon. "If you fish, you can practically cast a line from your pitch," they say. Beirne's pub is right next door. "It's very much a rural retreat. The recession is really helping us -- we've had a very busy year."

Contact: Tel: 071 965 0824 or see beirnesofbattlebridge.com.

Prices: Caravans and motor-homes, €22; small tent, €14.

Dates: Year-round.

Extras: Electricity (€5); showers (free).

Eagle Point Camping, Co Cork

Overlooking Bantry Bay at Ballylickey, Eagle Point is an ideal, affordable base for touring west Cork. Set on a peninsula with pebbled beaches, watersports junkies will be drawn to the windsurfing, kayaking and sailing opportunities. "There's also a good fishing rock on the site, where you can pick up mackerel and pollock," says Liz Sullivan. Landlubbers can avail of the football field, tennis court and small playground.

Contact: Tel: 027 50630 or see eaglepointcamping.com.

Prices: Caravans, tents and motor-homes, €32-€34; hikers/cyclists, €10pp.

Dates: April 24 to September 28.

Extras: Electricity (€3), showers (free).

Ballinacourty House Caravan & Camping Park, Co Tipperary

The Stanley family's 50-pitch park sits bang in the middle of the Glen of Aherlow. The grounds are those of an 18th-century estate, offering views of the Galtee Mountains. The nearby stables have been converted to a B&B and award-winning restaurant, in which Ronan Stanley cooks a tasty steak (even if it is his sister who says so). Other facilities include a playground, tennis court and shop, and several looped walks pass by the gate.

Contact: Tel: 062 56559 or see camping.ie.

Prices: Caravans, tents and motorhomes, €24-€26; hikers/ cyclists, €8pp.

Dates: April 10 to September 28.

Extras: Electricity (€3), showers (free).

Cong Caravan and Camping Park, Co Mayo

You know you're not in a run-of-the-mill campsite when The Quiet Man is shown nightly in a mini-cinema (Margaret and Gerry Collins will also organise tours of the film locations). This park has a shop, mini-golf and playground, and is an ideal base for touring Connemara, Westport and Knock Shrine. It's also close to Lough Mask and Lough Corrib.

Contact: Tel: 094 954 6089 or see quietman-cong.com.

Prices: Caravans and motor-homes, €20 to €30; tents €10-€20; hikers/cyclists, €10-€15pp.

Dates: Year-round.

Extras: Showers (€1), electricity (free).

River Valley Holiday Park, Co Wicklow

If you're camping in the garden county, this is the place for it. Situated in Redcross Village and within easy striking distance of Brittas Bay, Avoca and Glendalough (right), River Valley Park is firmly aimed at families (quiet time after 11pm). Facilities include Mickey Finn's pub, however, so late entertainment is close to hand. Also on-site is Millbrook Golf Course, an 18-hole (par 3) course, where "the only noise to put you off that all-important stroke is the singing of the birds".

Contact: Tel: 0404 41647 or see rivervalleypark.com.

Prices: Caravans and motor-homes, €30-€32; hikers/cyclists, €11-€12pp.

Dates: March 13 to November 1.

Extras: Electricity (€3), showers (€1).

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