Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Camping in Ireland

The American born author, Marianne Williamson, once wrote: We may have bad weather in Ireland, but the sun shines in the hearts of the people and that keeps us all warm.

 Nothing could be more true once a person spends time on the Emerald Isle and experiences firsthand a deluge from above which can chill to the bone but seems to dry instantly once they step into a pub. The smiling faces of the locals warms the heart and the welcoming conversations eases the discomfort of a rainy day.

That's how to warm up in a pub

Sunny afternoon and ready to set up camp

As we spent a month camping across Ireland it became apparent that Williamson knew a thing or two about the people of Ireland. Spending time tenting, cooking, and just socializing with fellow campers made us realize what a delight the Irish were.

Being of Irish ancestry, we both knew that we ourselves were a delight but meeting other delightful people only made the trip more delightful. 

Maybe not that delightful


Done and done for the evening

A comfort of green grass better than a mattress - almost!
Back to the point – camping in Ireland is wonderfully rewarding with soft green grass to set up tents (pitching), cozy communal kitchens with fireplaces (because it rains a lot), large spacious restrooms with showers (one had over twenty separate shower stalls), laundry facilities, and close proximity to all the sight seeing any explorer could desire. The prices are reasonable – anywhere from twenty to sixty dollars per night which is relative to the United States considering all the amenities offered at the Caravan and Camping Parks. With large open lots with room enough for trailers, self-contained motorhomes and of course tents – which we used on our Ireland adventure, the parks offer any camper a chance to relax in style.

More than enough room for everyone no matter the style

 And generally cheaper than hotels.

The friends you may encounter while pitching
Though with camping there is more of a chance actually sitting in the evening with fellow travelers and discovering a lot about them and yourselves. Everyone we came into contact with were extremely friendly and had stories to tell – all Irish have stories to tell – and some are truthful.

At one camping park Laureen and John ran into a mother and daughter who were from England and were spending two months in Ireland moving from park to park to get a real feel of the country. A glass of wine or two in the cozy and fire warmed dining area – it had been raining hard which brought the temperature down quite a bit making the wood stove a welcome respite to enjoy swapping tales. From Ireland they were headed to Africa for a six month journey on their own. No detailed itinerary but simply a lust for adventure and new experiences.

Another pitching park, a young couple and their children were enjoying the grassy knolls and the wooded glens which contained narrow hiking paths. It was their holiday and from living in Dublin, the countryside was just what they wanted. The weather was warm and sunny which made this family take advantage of the outdoors.

What lies beyond in the glen?
 One evening around ten-thirty while sitting enjoying a refreshing glass of spirits we found ourselves camped on a high open area with a view of an amazing bay. A few houses sprinkled the hillsides near us while fishing boats bobbed up and down in the dark blue waters beneath us. Idyllic especially with the clear night sky giving us such views of the northern stars. Suddenly our peaceful serenity was broken by a man walking by on his way home from a local pub, the camp was in a small and quiet village. He stopped, tipped his hat and said good evening. We responded in kind and he laughed and pointed to the cloudless heavens.

“It’s going to rain you should be knowing?”

John smiled in return and gestured to Laureen that the man had had one too many pints at the local watering hole.

The clouds moved in around one a.m. and at least three-quarters of an inch of rain fell on top of our tent soaking everything – especially us.

Three hours later a deluge leaving everything soaking!

 With a laugh and dry clothes the next morning we headed to a nearby hotel where we set up our tent in our room to dry out. Always did wonder what the hotel maid must have thought over that scene – a king sized bed with a tent next to it?

Bloody tourists!

Again, to camp in Ireland is a great eye opening experiences that we would recommend to anyone with a mind to follow the example of thousands who do it yearly. 

Jack Nicholson once said: “I’m Irish. I think about death all the time.” Not to disagree with such a remarkable talent but perhaps if he would take the time to camp in his home country the quote may change to: “I’m Irish. There’s nothing better than pitching a tent in a quiet glen and rejoicing that I am alive.”

Hey Nicholson - relax and dream of life and not death  - huh?

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