Tues 3rd September
Set off at lunchtime for the 20.15 Irish ferry from Holyhead to Dublin, had a good run down with a stop for a coffee with Fran’s brother and sister at llanfairfechan then into Holyhead for a bit of shopping, quick brew at 7pm with motorhome friends who live in Holyhead (Jo, son Charlie and dog Rua, Wurly, Jo’s hubby works for Stena and is taking the 20.30 ferry to Dublin so don’t see him). Bit choppy to start but calmed later, and arrived 11.30pm, nearest stop i know is Bray so headed there (note that Dublin has camera’s IN most of the bus lanes so beware). arriving at 12.30 at the end of the pier and bedded down for the night behind another van.
Wed 4th September
Woke at 7am and the van in front had left, put €1 in the meter which covered us until 10.30 am. Had breakfast and then moved van to a central parking spot and then went for a walk down the prom. It was at this point we noticed a couple of signs on top of the lampposts close to the casino where we had parked for the night with no overnight parking , they were the only ones on the promenade and we had no problems and the Garda did drive by in the morning. Left at lunchtime and had a ride up to Glendalough but when we saw the price for parking €15, there was a small field close by charging €10 but we gave it a miss as it was starting to rain heavy and it was 2pm, carried on up the mountains and had a brew at Wicklow Gap and then ended up coming back down to the coast to Ballenesker Beach, a small car park close to Curracloe with a lovely beach across the road with bins, recycling, clean toilets and a tap. A couple of Irish vans joined us (father and son and their wives and dogs) from the Galway area and we demolished a bottle plus of whiskey and had a great craic.
Thurs 5th September
Filled with water and then set off after a farewell to our new friends in direction of Kilmore Quay, arrived lunchtime so had a brew and sandwich after parking on the community car park and then had a walk around. It’s a small fishing village with a harbour, a few cafe’s, souvenir shops a chippy and pub. Clean public toilets and a memorial to all the fishermen that have lost their lives in the area. Checked the so called motorhome stopover which is on a small overpriced campsite and at €15 a night just for parking we opt to travel on from here and head up to Hook Head Lighthouse. We parked up facing the visitors centre when we arrived and as it was 4.30 we had a quick look round before they shut. We were joined by another 4 vans a bit later and there were a couple of caravans and few more vans just down the road .The roads had recently had chippings laid so the caravans were possibly the workers vans . The lighthouse is the oldest working lighthouse in the world and you can do tours via the visitors centre. The parking is right facing the sea and it was a blustery night so a bit rocky. On the way up to the lighthouse we did check out Loftus Hall a 14th century residence open for spooky tours as it’s supposed to be haunted but it was closed.
Fri 6th September
From the hook we made our way down to the Copper Coast with the intention of staying at the seaside town of Tramore, on arrival we found all the 5 dedicated bays at the end of the prom were taken and we could not park anywhere along the prom as there were no motorhome parking signs all down the prom. Their loss as we would have stopped and had a meal there. Carried on to the Copper Coast tourist route with some of the finest scenery in the south. There are a couple of parking spots the other side of Annestown overlooking the sea but they are a bit exposed to the elements and we had had a rocky night at the Hook so carried on to a cracking cove just round the corner (KilmurrinCove). A layby set back off the road with fantastic views and very quiet except for about half a dozen swimmers.
Sat 7th September
Moved on to Ardmore a small seaside town with a dedicated spot for campers. Dicks Field as it is known (Seaview Caravan Park) is a fantastic spot right on the seafront with services for €10 a night and you don’t have to leave until 2pm next day . Short walk down a grass path into an expensive little town. Couple of shops bars and cafes. The folk from the village have created a walkway just off the main car park which is a small nature trail and is very impressive,
Sun 8th September
Now onto Cobh another dedicated motorhome stopover. €10 for 24 hrs max stay 48hrs. Nice touristy town about 15 mins walk down the front with a link to the Titanic, Sonia O’sullivan, and Lusitania sinking. Arrived late afternoon and had a walk into town, visited the Titanic museum and then a bit of a tour of the souvenir shops then back to the van before it rains. Cruise ship arrived overnight and dwarfs the harbour.
Mon 9th september
As we are close to Cork, Jameson’s, and Blarney it’s a toss-up where to go from Cobh, as it’s a nice morning and Blarney is only 45 mins away we opt for that. €14 each for seniors plus €2 for parking makes it an expensive 3 hours but Fran hasn’t been and the rain kept off so all was ok. Didn’t do the Blarney stone as the wait was over an hour but we had a good walk round the grounds. Leaving here at 3pm the intention is to do the Ring of Kerry tomorrow so we head a bit out of the way to a great new aire on the marina at Bantry. It’s a barriered park with all facilities including electric and free Wi-Fi for €10 for 24 hr. €1 an hour daytime parking so it’s possible to stop off here and empty the cassette and fill with water for your €1. Also has spotless toilets entry via a key code (found on most review websites.) Plenty of shops and a massive Super value supermarket with everything you would need at reasonable prices.
Tues 10th September
After a walk round Bantry we set off for the ring of Beara some stunning views but some very hairy driving on single track roads . Following the WAW we went right down to the bottom where you can get a cable car to Dursey island for €10 and then spend 4 hours on a walking trail, needless to say we didn’t bother. Stopped for lunch at Ballydonegan Beach where a couple were swimming in the freezing water and a few horses being exercised. Carried on towards the ring of Kerry and stayed the night at Kenmare Bay. Only 2 vans and it was very quiet, it does have no camping signs at the top of the road but non further down. Started raining heavy as we pulled up so didn’t venture into Kenmare which was only a short walk.
Wed 11th September
From Kenmare (we didn’t have time to explore which was a shame as driving through it looked well worth a visit.) we set off on the Ring of Kerry again some spectacular views and some hairy roads full of coaches. In a van its recommended you do it anti clockwise and follow the route of the coaches then you won’t meet any coming the other way. Stopped at the ring of Kerry look out for lunch then carried on to the Motorhome Park at Sneem. Great spot right on the ring of Kerry with a lot of overpriced touristy shops but the Motorhome Park at €10 for 24 hours (€5 electric). Is well worth it .You pay at the pub in the village where i had my first pint of Guinness.
Thurs 12th September
From the ring of Kerry we move northwards as we are going to a meet at Carrick on Shannon, Called at Rathkeale to check out the large palatial houses and caravans then on to Adare which they say is the prettiest village in Ireland, very touristy with a few thatched houses nice park and a tourist centre. Found a space on a free car park facing the school a five minute walk into Adare as it’s a very busy town and parking would be impossible in the centre. From here we move to Drommineer a small village on Lough Derg , I have stayed here twice before and there are now no overnight parking signs near the café at the boat launch but there are 2 alternative spots close by . We chose one just past the toilet, elsen and shower block (it’s a waterways Ireland site so if you have a card showers available). There were 3 vans looking for a place when we came into the village but they must have decided not to stay so left us alone for a quiet night. (There were a couple of locals giving the evil eye but they never came over and said anything and it was very quiet from 9pm).
Fri 13th September
Set off for the meet with Motorhome Craic and called at a friend’s place at Roscommon for a brew before arriving at Gene Andersons Thatched pub for 6pm it is a free stop for motorhome as long as you use the pub and has space for 20+ vans at the rear of the pub. Pub doesn’t open until 8, we are first in and get a welcome free Irish coffee from mine host and then had a brilliant night with Irish music and Guinness. (Gene sings and play many instruments) also some great stuff from a couple of the craic gang Robert and Ruth Anne. Mine host also comes round in the morning with a baguette for all the vans staying there.
Sat 14th September
A taxi ride into Carrick on Shannon for about 8 of us and ended up in the pub and had a couple of pints and watched Man utd v Leicester (we won), back for some lunch as we had left a slow cooker with a stew on only problem with it being cloudy the solar panel was not putting enough in and the battery was well down (note to self don’t leave slow cooker on unless its sunny or on electric). Its 10pm before we venture out tonight and another night of Irish music until 1am.
Sun 15th September
Gene again came round with bread and a Punnett of grapes for all as a parting gift, we were away by 12.30 and left some of the heavy drinkers either still asleep or waiting until the alcohol levels have dropped enough to drive. We head off to a stop in Roosky 20k away which is gated with all facilities overlooking a marina on the Shannon for €13 a night including electric. As it’s not stopped raining since 2pm we are glad of the view and electric as we can top batteries up and watch television tonight (unusual for us) and hope for better weather tomorrow. Not much in the village besides a pub and chippy but it does have a very large supermarket which has everything you need to stock up and at reasonable prices.
Mon 16th September
From Roosky we travel to a motorhome stop with a difference at Claremorris. On arrival it is large house with gravel drive and a large garage but has water taps and electric connectors all over. There was nobody about but a sign on the door gives you the phone number of Pat and his wife 0868980200. As they are campers themselves it says park up anywhere and enjoy the facilities (which is all you will need inc electric and Wi-Fi and washing machine and dryer, chemical disposal point ,recycle bins, toilet a compost heap to put your waste food on and a greenhouse where you can help yourself to tomatoes or onions.) There is a small stream running through the site with chairs to chill out and a room at the back of the garage with everything inc maps and magazines, (to many items to list). Spoke to Pat and even though he wasn’t there he said enjoy yourselves and the facilities and just put a donation in an envelope and push through the front door (we left €20 as we used the washer). Hope this place doesn’t get abused as Pat is very trustworthy. They do have a guest book in the room at the rear for comments and reviews which was full of great reviews.
Tues 17th September
From Claremorris we head over to Westport and as the weather is with us we follow the WAW around to Louisburg and through the mountains with some stunning scenery and do a loop back to Westport where we spend the night at the end of the pier close to the museum. There are no campervan overnight signs at the town end of the pier but we had no problems where we were and it was very quiet after dusk.
Wed 18th September
In the morning we again follow the WAW this time round Achill Island where we were treated to some amazing scenery, we then went onto a dedicated motorhome stop at Crossmolina, Seven dedicated spaces with water and a toilet block which is spotless. Views of Lough Conn but the town is a mile or so walk away. It is possible to empty cassette here as a plastic manhole cover to the left of the toilet block near the bins is not screwed down. “So don’t empty in the toilets ” A donation box with a suggested €10 is in the toilets which are locked at dusk and opened at 8.30am.
Thurs 19th September
Set off in the direction of Sligo filled with diesel at Ballina which was €0.10 a litre cheaper than the last fill on the Achill island run, then onto Strand hill a small but very busy beach where we had no chance of parking on the front so we opted for a spot in front of the campsite just off the beach road. After lunch we head off to Enniskillen and the Riverside marina campsite. Nice and quiet site with newly laid concrete bases and a new toilet and shower block all services £12.50 or £15 with electric. The views are of the hillside and a small marina so it’s more of a chill out site and the owner is very helpful and goes out of his way to make sure you have a good stay.
Friday 20th September
Set off in the morning for Enniskillen and found a parking spot just out of town facing the Castle museum, headed into town for a few hours of retail therapy then back to the van for lunch with a view of the passing boats. From here we set off for Pettigo with a stop off on route at Castle Archdale Country Park. An old castle ruin and forest walks with a couple of large car parks with picnic tables which would be ideal for an overnight stop. Arrive at Pettigo and pull into the Termon Complex which is a large leisure centre which allows motorhome stopovers for £10 or £17 with electric. The girl in reception was very helpful and showed us all the facilities ,showers can be used , outside toilets are not locked , inside toilets can be used , water taps down the side and a manhole cover that can be lifted in front of taps. There is a café inside open from 9am until 6pm and there are facilities upstairs for washing pots if needed. The centre has a few things going on and is busy up until 9pm when it closes and the all is very quiet. The village itself is very small and has a couple of shops and a couple of pubs one of which does food. There are a couple of walks one along the river and one through the forest.
Sat 21st September
Set off after a bit of a walk along the river in the direction of Cranfield marina near Antrim , Stopped off at Omagh to do a bit of shopping at Asda and was going to have a look round but it was that busy even getting out of the car park so we gave it a miss. On to Cookstown another busy village and we managed to top up the Gaslow tanks at the filling station close to Tesco, did call at a station on the A29 but couldn’t get any gas out of it and the attendant said it must be my filler (worked ok at the second one ) both were 65p a litre. Then onto Cranfield a large car park on the marina with toilets and a tap in the disabled toilet where we were going to stop but a few youths in cars were putting us off (even though someone local said they wouldn’t bother with us ) so went on to see a friend at Antrim.
Sun 22nd September
Sunday is a chill out day with a late start after a late night drinking and putting the world to rights last night so it’s off to Antrim for lunch with mine hosts and a walk round the marina and a bit of shopping therapy for Fran and then a few more drinks.
Monday 23rd September
Today we are going to have a wander round Belfast so we set off to park in the park and ride close by and get the free bus in , only trouble there are height barriers on it so we drive into Belfast and park up facing the Titanic Experience for £5 for 4 hours which suits us as its now 2pm. Did the Titanic experience £15.50 each for us pensioners, it was very informative but not worth that sort of money. After that as the open top city tour bus stopped outside the car park we decided to do that at £12.50 each , Good tour of Belfast but part way round it started to rain so we had to do a quick exit from upstairs to get cover downstairs, we didn’t know that it was the last tour and bus and it didn’t go back to where we got on and so ended up walking a mile from the town centre , luckily the rain had stopped by then . Back to Antrim for a final night with our friends, no booze tonight just tea as its Monday and I believe they don’t drink on Mondays in Antrim.
Tues 24th September
Today we sadly say goodbye to our friends in Antrim😢😢 and head off to the Aire at Broughshane But.. as I have the old App on my sat nav i put the wrong stop in and ended up at a lovely pub The Gate on Lough Neagh trouble was it was the opposite direction to where I was going. So it was an about turn and one hour later we were back in Antrim ( hoping it wouldn’t take me past my mates place 🙄) and half an hour later in Broughshane. Have had lunch here on a previous trip and it’s a lovely little village with a great display of flowers. We are the only ones here and there is no water on the services and the black waste emptying was disgusting as someone had emptied and it was full of toilet paper and had not been rinsed. There was a barrel collecting water from the gutters in the mill in the car park so got a couple of watering cans of water and flushed it so it was usable. Went to pay the £5 at the council office and they did know about the water and waste problem (happened at weekend and they were sorting it) and they gave me a couple of tokens for the electric for free to make up for no water. Evening meal at the Thatched Tavern was good value and its the other place you can get tokens from and I think also pay for parking. Worth noting if there is no water on the Euro relais we were told by a local that there is a tap at the rear of the vets you can use, we did top up with it in the morning.
Wednesday 25th September
We were going to go to Glenarm marina but a change of plan and we go to Belfast and the GRONI so I can see if any of my ancestors come from Northern Ireland but can’t find any reference but do come up with a couple from County Westmeath which confirms my original research which brought up Maynooth. (should have known as I have big ears) 🙄. Will be calling at Maynooth and maybe Dublin record office before we leave. Another fill up with fuel at Tesco just outside Belfast @£1.28 then on to Donaghadee, nice spot overlooking sea with services water, elect by token €2 and toilets, there are problems with a campsite owner and a court case going on about overnight parking but talking to another motorhomer who had asked the council guys they don’t inforce it. We are here only for tonight also another couple of vans parked up so we will see if we get any mither (if your like Ally and never heard of Mither Google it 😁).
Thursday 26th September.
No problems at Donaghadee good quiet night spent with 2 other vans. We need to do some washing and there is a 24 hour washing machine at Scrabo service station in Newtownards also a poundstretcher next door so go and do a bit of shopping while the washing is doing. From here we are off to Island Hill via Tesco to wash the van (shouldn’t have bothered as from 4pm we have had torrential rain). Parked up at 2pm and after a bite to eat we cross the causeway to the island and do the walk round before the rains came. Its a great spot overlooking the Lough, there are toilets at the first parking spot and no other services but advise parking at the end of the second one as its quiet there. The island is only accessible at low tide so check out the tide times. A few cars arrived about 9pm but we’re all gone by 11.30 so no problems.
Friday 27th September
Now coming down the coast and today arrived at Ardglass marina, no one about but a lad working on the shop next to the car park let us in and phoned the marina manager for us. Ray the Manager arrived later and couldn’t be more helpful, sorted electric, water by the gate, toilets showers a kitchen and washer and dryer. £12 all in for services and stop, £3 each for washer and dryer, WiFi inside reception, All gated with keypad access. Super spar close by with garage with cheap fuel, Chinese restaurant /take away, chippy take away and a couple of pubs. Good views over the marina. We’ll worth a stop over and as the App says use it and not the car parks. Ps. I couldn’t get any phone signal.
Saturday 28th September
Getting closer to the end of our trip so we move to another marina this time at Carlingford, I have stopped here before and its a great stopover. €10 a night includes all services and toilets and showers , if you ask they will also give you the WiFi code. Did see a reference on the App to a €2 charge to get out (its a barriered stopover . ) the only way you will have to pay €2 to get out is if you park and don’t pay for an overnight stay or you don’t use the restaurant as both give you tokens to get out. As its lunchtime we walked into Carlingford after a bit of a downpour had a walk round (lots to see and busy with weddings,stag and hen do’s) and then a fantastic breakfast in the Liberty Cafe (recommended) then back to the van just as it started raining again. There were only 3 vans when we arrived , 2 left but now at 4pm there a few more vans arriving (maybe early arrivals for the Craic meet next week.)
Sunday 29th September
As this is the penultimate day we are stopping at Carlingford for another day so have another trip into town (to get some teabags as I dropped Fran’s teabags in the washing up bowl) and up to now the weather has been good to us today a bit of cloud but plenty of sunshine . Will go tomorrow to Skerries and hopefully get the train into Dublin to go to the records office to do a bit of genealogy then into Maynooth again genealogy before our 8.30 pm sailing back to Holyhead.
Monday 30th September
Better day today and a good sunrise at Carlingford
After the wonderful sunrise we sorted the services out and headed off to Skerries, Called at a Lidl in Dundalk for a few bits and there were 2 garages across from one another just down the road ,the diesel here was €1.22 a litre and most of the prices we had seen on route were €1.32 plus so we topped the tank up to the brim. What a change in weather ,on arrival at Skerries it was misty and had started to rain (there is nothing worse than a coastal town in mist and rain) and there was nowhere to park so we opted to carry on and go to have a look round Maynooth. On arrival at Maynooth it was torrential rain so we parked in the Tesco car park and bought a couple of bits and had the intention of walking into Maynooth but it was raining to heavy so we decided to go to a stop not to far away that i had been to before at Lowtown marina in Robertstown and then call back at Maynooth in the morning before going to Dublin for the ferry home. Getting out of Maynooth was a nightmare ,there must have been an accident in the village as every road around was gridlocked luckily we could avoid the town centre and were heading in the opposite direction so managed to get out without too many hold ups.
Tuesday 1st October
Lowton Marina was quiet only us and one more van. Toilets and showers via waterways card, water accessible on canal edge No cassette emptying facilities.
Set off back to Maynooth to have a look at the cemetery to see if any ancestors are buried there, no luck so will have to do more research. Find out why the gridlock in town, they are digging up a junction near the University and using stop and go boards to control traffic. We were stuck in it for half an hour so it looks like another gridlock later. As its raining and getting on for midday we decide to head to Dublin port early and hopefully miss some of the traffic congestion. Ferry at 8.55 pm that’s it til next time.