Campervanning…the only way to see Ireland!
Ever since time began people have been living nomadically. And 2000 years later, modern day travellers still feel the urge to remove themselves from the well-trodden path in search of solitude and peace, or simply an adrenaline-fuelled adventure. For many though, travel is just a way to escape the fuss and repetitive boredom of everyday living…work, bills, sleep, work, bills, sleep…and repeat…ourselves included!
Since March 2019, Covid-19 hit forcing lockdowns worldwide and travel ceased. Now, in 2022; many of the restrictions have been lifted and travel is once more on the minds of happy adventurers…and we couldn’t wait fo four first adventure…a 7 day road trip around Ireland in a Bunk Campers Vista Campervan!
Travelling around Ireland has never been on our radar until now, and why would it be, it rains…it rains a lot! As a family we would much rather take a car journey across sun-kissed Europe, or visit Italy and Finland for snow and winter sports, our two favourite travel destinations. But that doesn’t mean we don’t get out an about locally to enjoy the many lakes and scenic bogland drives that Ireland has in abundance.
BUNK CAMPERS and GLAMPING IN IRELAND
So, Easter week 2022 and Glamping in Ireland, alongside Around The World in 18 Years; had an amazing opportunity to collaborate with Bunk Campers for 7 days of ‘campervanning’ (is that even a word?) across Ireland. For those who haven’t heard of Bunk Campers, established in 2007; they are the UK and Ireland’s leading campervan and motor hire company. With depots located beside airports, it’s so easy to jump on a flight and pick up your campervan or motor home from a convenient location.
The process of booking a campervan is quick and easy, simply visit the Bunk Campers website, click a button or two, and voila, it’s booked, all you have to do is count down the days until your Bunk Campers Campervan or Motorhome adventure begins.
Our Campervan collection location was Dublin, just a couple of hours drive from our home in Northern Ireland. The pick up process was meticulously executed and the staff at Bunk Campers were extremely helpful. As first time Campervan users, no questions went unanswered and we even had a guided tour of our home on wheels, with a full run down of how to operate the van, electric, charging, gas, toilets, beds and so on…all we had to do was decide where our four-wheeled adventure would be…North, South, East or West of our beautiful tiny island.
Rather than give you an entire rundown of our route, overnight stays, detailing the squabbles etc, we will give you a few pointers as to why you should book your campervan or motorhome adventure with Bunk Campers and hit the open road around Ireland.
SEE TOURIST SPOTS LONG BEFORE THE CROWDS
As our Campervan trip wasn’t at the height of the summer, we were very lucky that the locations and landmarks we visited were relatively quiet. Having toured Ireland in the summer months, we know very well how busy the most popular (and most instagrammable) spots can be. Touring Ireland in a Campervan allows you to visit these sights out-with the most popular times.
We all know that early mornings can be the best time to see (and photograph) Ireland’s stunning beauty spots, but…confession; we are not the best (awful) at getting up at the crack of dawn! The Vista Campervan provided us with such a great opportunity to be right there for those beautiful sunrises, unfortunately for us; the sun didn’t get the memo and failed to appear from behind the grey clouds! Not too worry, we still got to wake up in some amazing places, long before the tourists and locals appeared.
If you have travelled to Healy Pass, Connor’s Pass or the Gap of Dunloe in County Kerry, you will, I am sure; have experienced the ‘busyness’ of these stunning winding roads, with bogland, rugged terrain, waterfalls and scenery befitting of a James Bond movie scene. Popular with walkers and also pony and trap rides, the recommendation is that if you are planning to explore these amazing locations by car or campervan, get there early. We could see why, the roads are narrow and I mean narrow, but there are plenty of passing places should you come across another vehicle.
As darkness fell, we found a suitable overnight stop just before the beginning of the Gap of Dunloe and settled down for the night. Outside our Vista Campervan, red deer appeared and vanished in the blink of an eye. After a great night’s sleep in the comfortable double beds, it was time to hit the road once more. The girls were moved from the upper bed to passenger seats in their PJ’s, the great benefit of touring in a Campervan! Was it worth it? 100%!
PARK 4 NIGHT APP
As this was our very first time in a Campervan, we had no idea of where we should park overnight…on site, remote or car parks? Thankfully, the amazing team at Bunk Campers recommended the Park4Night app, a dedicated app detailing all the places where your campervan is welcome to stay overnight. We have always thought that the main benefit of touring Ireland in a Campervan, is to be able to go ‘off-grid’, to park up in the wilderness with no-one around for miles and also to save money! Park4Night makes this possible and the app is user friendly and extremely easy to use.
Simply check out your route on the Park4Night app and it will show you nearby overnight parking spots. With genuine customer reviews and images, you can decide if the spot is what you are looking for, or move on to the next stop. It is important to remember that your campervan waste and grey water needs to be emptied every 2/3 days depending on usage, the app allows you to filter the sites that have these services available.
Our favourite overnight spot was overlooking the Atlantic Ocean by the side of a rugged mountain in County Cork!
TAKE YOUR FOUR-LEGGED FURRY FRIEND
With having three dogs, it can be quite difficult to find accommodation, and even more so; a restaurant or somewhere to have a quiet drink. Rosie (cocker spaniel) doesn’t travel well, so she stayed home, and Pumpkin and Skye (cockapoo pups), got to come along on their first big Bunk Campers Campervan adventure. Bunk Campers allow up to 2 dogs in selected vans at a minimal cost of just €50 per trip. The Vista Campervan gave us great freedom with the pups, they had so much more room for the journeys compared to if we were touring in our car. The pups even spent time looking out of the window watching the world go by. At meal times we were able to have the Vista Campervan door open wide and let the pups free roam (extendable leads) while we ate comfortably within the Campervan. It really did feel like a home from home.
JUST KEEP DRIVING
We never expected to cover as much of Ireland on our campervan trip as we did. Unlike being in a car, the journeys to each destination really feels like part of the Campervan experience, and not just getting from A to B as quick as possible. Sadly, the Irish weather was not on our side and the rain seemed to follow us wherever we went. No matter, we loved just being out on the open road in the Vista Campervan and taking in the beautiful Irish countryside and Wild Atlantic coastline.
The rear seats of the Vista Campervan sit behind the table, this was great as while we took in the views, the girls were happy to keep themselves occupied, solitaire on the ipad, playing UNO, colouring and completing their Travel Journals.
EARLY MORNING DIPS
Now, we did have the best intentions to enjoy an early morning dip in the Atlantic Ocean while the sun rose on a beautiful beach. As mentioned, the sun never appeared and the level of warmth in April isn’t adequate enough for the Callaghan’s tiny toes to be dipped in water, never mind the full bodies! Touring Ireland in a Bunk Campers Campervan lends itself perfectly to be sitting right beside that unspoilt beach and ready for an early morning cold water swim. Using our Park4Night app we found a perfect spot to park up, and practically on Inch Beach. At just €36 per night, Inch Beach Camping (campervans, motorhomes and tents) has all the amenities for your Campervan and most importantly, lovely warm showers for after your swim (if you’re braver than us).
RECONNECT WITH THE FAMILY
With a 13 year old and a 7 year old, our girls (especially the teenager) are more interested these days in catching up with their friends online, dancing to the latest TikTok Trend or Snapchatting with buddies; than chatting with us ‘old fogies’. Touring Ireland in a Vista Campervan had the four of us in one confined space, and it was lovely (the girls ‘might’ say different). As we enjoyed our long scenic drives, Lily-Belle was the family DJ, taking song requests on rotation via the Amazon Music app. The playlist would range from Harry Styles to ‘The Gambler’ for the oldies. Enjoying tasty food on our trip was easy with many towns offering fantastic takeaway options, one of our favourites being from The Fish Box The Fish Box in Dingle. Locally sourced produce from field and ocean straight to plate, delicious!
When we settled down in the evenings and with very limited internet, it was back to basics with conversations, games and eye-spy! The competition was high with many games of UNO and Dobble, and long running games of travel monopoly late into the night!
WATCH THE SUNSET
Have you seen an Irish sunset? They are spectacular! Unfortunately, due to clouds, wet weather and winds; we didn’t get to experience even one decent sunrise or sunset on our Irish road trip with Bunk Campers. If asked what I was looking forward to the most before our campervan trip of Ireland, I would have said ‘being wrapped up in a warm duvet, with a warm cup of fresh coffee, campervan rear doors wide open, a soft breeze and watching the sunset on the horizon on the Wild Atlantic Way.’ It wasn’t meant to be for our Irish road trip – maybe next time. The Bunk Campers Vista is perfect for enjoying sunsets, as, unlike a traditional motor home; the double doors at the rear can be pinned wide open. Park4Night is also your best friend for chasing those sunsets, by guiding you to the perfect parking spot.
GET BACK TO NATURE
There is no better way to get back to nature than a road trip of Ireland. Having the Vista Campervan allows you to go completely off grid and find those perfect spots to get back to nature, from wild water swimming, to catching a site of deer as dusk descends. As we parked up for the evening at the top of Healy Pass, we were lucky enough to catch the sight of a fawn deer and it’s mum. On another day we parked up and fed donkeys (with owners permission), and another we found a peaceful spot for lunch with wild goats roaming beside us.
Our trip around the Wild Atlantic Way really instilled a sense of home-travel within us. The campervan really is a home-from-home, just on wheels! Within the Vista Campervan, which was more than adequately spaced (sleeps 4) there is a well equipped kitchenette with cutlery, utensils, a gas hob and fridge. The separate toilet/shower is perfect for when you’re parked up on isolated on mountain roads, away from civilisation.
The drivers and passenger seats spin around so that meal times can be enjoyed as a family around the table, a feature that we really loved and used daily. At the rear of the Vista Campervan is a seating area which converts to a large double bed…we chose to leave the area as a bed for our entire trip. One thing I will say is that the Vista Campervan has copious storage space – cupboards, drawers, hidden compartments (we only found these the day we were heading back to Bunk Campers for the drop-off) – it’s like a tardis inside…plenty of room, plenty of head space and oodles of character. There’s even folding chairs for when you find that spot to sit and enjoy the spectacular sea or mountain views that Ireland offers in abundance.
How would we rate our experience of Bunk Campers, the Vista Campervan and our short tour of Ireland…10/10 or 5*, whichever you’d prefer. If you haven’t experienced a campervan holiday, you should…nothing beats the freedom of being able to go wherever you want, whenever you want!
Drop by Bunk Campers and when you book, tell them Glamping in Ireland sent you.
WOULD WE GO BACK?
Yes. The weather in Ireland may not be favourable (most of the time) for those wishing to get a golden tan, but this doesn’t deter us from wanting to explore home soil. As fair-skinned natives to Ireland, we’ve become accustomed to dressing for all weathers on day trips, after all, it could be snowing in the morning, sunny in the afternoon, blowing a gale in the evening and raining at night…always be prepared! Having the convenience of a Bunk Campers Vista Campervan allowed us to take what we needed to ensure that our short tour around Ireland was enjoyable. A spacious campervan, open roads and spectacular scenery…we feel truly blessed to live in a wonderful part of the world.
I also have to say, as someone who loves excellent customer service and loathes poor customer service, Bunk Campers really are at the top of their game, all boxes are ticked – polite, courteous, easy pick-up and drop-off, and friendly service with a smile. Couldn’t fault them enough and happy to give a recommendation to use them for all you’re campervan or motorhome adventures.
With a very special THANK YOU to::
- Justin Strong – for organising our collaboration and for showing us what a great company Bunk Campers is…we truly enjoyed our time in the Vista Campervan and look forward to encouraging others to try this touring way of life.
- Mark Austin and Samantha (Bunk Campers Dublin) – for your exceptionally warm welcome and for making us feel like valued customers.
We are grateful to the staff at Bunk Campers for your exceptional customer service, and friendliness. Our collaboration with Bunk Campers has allowed us to enjoy time together as a family, away from tech, away from school and away from work….creating memories that we’ll cherish for ever. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making our collaboration special. It was a true pleasure working alongside Bunk Campers on this collaboration.
If you would like information on hiring a Campervan or Motorhome with Bunk Campers, please visit Bunk Campers.
LILY-BELLE SAYS (13)
I enjoyed the trip, and would probably have enjoyed it more had the weather been better to enjoy the beach. The beds were so comfortable and not what I expected from a campervan. I would like to do it again, but maybe in the summer when it’s warmer.
MATILDA SAYS (7)
I loved sleeping in the top bed and was surprised at how big the van was. It rained everyday so I didn’t like that we couldn’t do some of the things we had planned.
Date(s) of trip: 8th April – 15th April 2022
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[disclaimer: Our campervan trip with Bunk Campers was gifted. Gifted item(s) were provided in return for social media and blog coverage. This blog post contains external links, we do not receive any commission or payment if you click through these links.
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WorldWideWalkies3rd June 2022 at 14:20
We tour permanently with four dogs and find an Rv (caravan or campervan) is one of the best ways to travel with pups. They are happy, becuase ‘home’ doesn’t change – and you don’t have to worry about finding dog friendly accommodation.
It’s lovely to see our pictures from the Ring of Kerry. We windsurfed at Brandon Bay in May one year and I had to buy a pair of shorts! I had only packed waterproofs, wooly jumpers and heavy boots. It never occurred to me that the sun might shine in the Emerald Isle, but it does occasionally!
Around The World In 18 Years3rd June 2022 at 14:35
Thank you for commenting. Although the sunshine is a rarity, it’s nice when it does make an appearance. We loved our trip in the Vista Campervan, and it’s really given us the push that we needed to tour more of our homeland. And the pups had an amazing time, settled really well and as you say, ‘home’ doesn’t change for the entire trip, just the location. We are now ‘shopping’ for a campervan, possible something to renovate ourselves, or maybe something off the shelf and ready to roll on the open road.