Wild Camping Spots found in Ireland
North and South during a trip
from May - July 2003

These may no longer be available but of course if goes without saying, do not block or cause a nuisance to anyone and do check with owners where there are any obvious ones. Leave nothing behind except your tyre marks.

Bear in mind our route had been Pembroke - Rosslare and we took a route clockwise around Ireland, so these spots are following in that direction - you will need a map, I didn't have GPS so can't give these details. Perhaps someone else will be able to add these later.

1    We were told of a spot at Kilmore Quay, which would have been a spot to use, but we didn't actually need this one, as we had stopped at St Margaret's Caravan Site straight from the ferry, so were further along when we wished to halt for the night. There are toilets here and I was told a top but didn't actually see it myself.
2    Dunbrattin Head - no signs to say you cannot park, but there were people around looking. No facilities
3    Galtee Castle Woods - up to the right of the road, and follow the signs, very narrow and trees around, but a wonderful place to stop the night - no one else anywhere near - there are houses as you drive up this lane. It is signposted from the main road. No facilities
4    Mizen Head - again another wonderful spot, tucked back into a corner away from the entrance to the walkway and Tourist Information Spot. This was closed when we were here. Could be windy. No facilities
5    Gougane Barra National Park. This is a lovely park and we stopped down close to the toilet block. Water was also available here. There are lovely walks here. Well worth a visit.
6     Bantry House. I hasten to add to this one, we did go into the Armada Exhibition and has asked when paying if there was any chance of stopping overnight in the car park. (We had been told by a local that it is sometimes possible). Whilst walking around the gardens, we were approached by what we then learned was the owner, who asked if we were the ones enquiring about stopping. He said, no problem there was a water tap behind the little chalet (used for paying). How lucky, so I can now say we stayed at Bantry House. BUT do ask here, after all it is a private house.
7    We were told of a spot at Dursey Island (cable car) BUT we got there and were told in no uncertain terms that NO YOU CAN'T stop here. So we turned back down the road and as you return, on the right hand side up slightly from the road is a picnic spot. We stopped here for the night, lovely views over Garnish Point.
8    We passed through Sneem and then we turned off on a road that goes up to meet the R566 Sneem to Kilarney road, it was signed Blackwater Tavern 4km - we pulled in at a large area of waste ground on the left and stopped for the night.
9    Another spot that was a possibility was Ballinskelligs Beach (CP) but it was too early, there was a loo - but it was awful.
10    Back to Waterville and up again through the middle of the Ring of Kerry, where we have stopped for the night. We are in a picnic spot in the Ballaghisheen Forest. Looks quite nice and should be quite quiet - well it wasn't not because of noise but because of midges, we ended up evacuating it at 2330! So use this one with caution. Lovely spot and fantastic drive through the middle but watch the season.
11    IF you take the road thru the middle and continue on towards Glencar you come across a large bit of gravel at the top of the pass. This was where we ended up, only at the time we couldn't see a thing, it was raining heavily and we were in cloud! Wonder if anyone else will find it - I think it was heading towards Moll's Gap - still on the road up thru the middle of the Ring of Kerry.
12    Another of those, not sure exactly where it is, but we drove out to Castlemaine, and followed a route, supposedly scenic with a viewpoint, well that is where we were - scenery - cloud and nothing else to show. 2 days later we had taken the road up over the mountain pass again to see where we had parked and the view we had missed this time we were lucky we could. It was not crystal clear, but enough to make out what we had missed, the view on one side was over Castlemaine and the harbour (which is a nature reserve) and a few hundred yards further on was another viewing point, and this time you could see Tralee and Tralee Bay very clearly. It was nice to see the road up and down as well instead of just cloud - so two places to stop up here.
13    Next stop might suit you, but it didn't us! We got to Slea Head itself and there is a car park with a twisting road down to the beach - we went to the car park, I went to take photos as usual it was nice, we had decided to stop for the night. After about 90 mins we could smell gas, and became a little concerned, we wondered if it was because we weren't level - so decided to move on. We didn't get it again, but we did discover we were nearly out of gas - and now think this was the smell….we didn't get so low again!
14     We went to Ballylongford where we have come down to a Castle, Carrigafoyle Castle, which is yet another ruin and seems to be popular by the number of cars that have pulled up, stopped between 5 and 10 mins and then retraced their steps. We are stopping here the night. The sad bit is that they are repairing the castle, well making it safe and it is surrounded by scaffolding and doesn't look too good, and an assortment of builders materials as well. We are hoping that as it is Saturday tomorrow, workmen will not be arriving. - you guessed it they did…
15     We stopped on a pier in Liscannor where the cruises to the Cliffs of Moher start. If the weather was good in the morning we would do one, but at the time we were there it was raining and there was cloud/mist so we couldn't see anything, I would like to do it. After all I have seen them from above, the cruise would be really good. We shall see. We didn't do it. Do you get the impression that it rained a lot on this holiday - you would be right….it was a really wet holiday, you know the bits, before we arrived it was dry, and apparently when we left, so perhaps you should make sure you go somewhere different to us!
16     Noted this one: The road then took us further on along the coast, there was a good parking spot at Bealaglugga but we were too early for a night stop
17    We continued on a tour and then around the coast to Roundstone. We stopped at in a car park just on the west side of the town, and we got in as well so the place was big, but it wasn't a good place to stop at 23'. It would be a nice place to stop plenty of cafes/pubs all doing fresh fish. Lovely little harbour. Perhaps if you were a camper you could stop here.
18     So we followed the road on around with the intention of taking a couple of the little coastal roads that go off this main route, hoping to find a stopping place for the night. The first one we found a sign to Errislannan Point, and we followed the road, just the width of the motorhome, and within a few hundred yards, we saw a large monument - and guess what a viewing area. Fantastic views for 360deg. The monument is to Alcock and Brown - they landed here in 1919 on the first flight across the Atlantic at 109mph….. mind you it is a bit windy and the sun is out as well, been out for about 90 mins now things started looking up.

Not a stopping place, but if you are here, do make sure you take in The Sky Road. Well worth it for the views alone. This goes west out of Clifden.

19    This is on Achill Island - We continued around taking the Atlantic Drive to Keel and then turned to take the Atlantic Drive around the hills. We passed the deserted village, deserted due to the famine, all that remains are the walls of the houses laid out on the hillside, and then we came to Doogort where there are two beaches, one called Barnynagappul Strand and Goldren Strand. We decided to stop here the night overlooking the golden strand. Pub opposite which serves evening meals as well, so this was very convenient. The Anchor Bar & Lounge & Restaurant. It specialises in fish
20    We were on the main road R314 towards Sligo and continued passing what we have later learnt is a Neolithic centre (but it looked closed when we were there, we ear-marked it as a place to stop for the night if we didn't find anything else, there was a coach park there). Shame really as it would probably have been very interesting, but I still haven't found anything about it at the TI offices!!
21    Anyway we then turned off to do yet another of our loops, this one taking us to Downpatrick Head. Road a bit iffy, but was OK if you were slow and careful, started with grass down the middle but got worse. We decided this was the place for the night and made ourselves comfortable. There were about 4 areas in which to park, we started at the first, ended on the second for the night, as it gave a view of the whole of the bay. Nice walks up on the Head with blow holes in the cliff, so do be careful, there are signs.
20    We then drove through Ballysadare where the Bay encroaches on it, this then took us out on the R292 loop road to Strandhill. We found a scenic road leading off to the right, which made me hang on for dear life at the beginning. It gave brilliant views though of the surrounding area. Up here we found a mountain car park which we thought we would use to stop the night. We walked up the mountain, but I must admit we didn't make it to the top, several others did though.
21    Next we were into Co. Leitrim, and we passed through Manorhamilton and on to Glencar. We stopped here about 1700 and had a cup of tea and then walked up to the waterfalls. We decided to stop the night here there are toilets and water available. It is a nice spot surrounded by mountains and a lake. Continuing along this loop road, we found three other parking spots that would have been useful - isn't it funny, if only you knew what was around the corner, but you would just keep going… hoping for a better one.
22     This is not strictly a wild spot - but one to add to your list - this is new or was when we were there - first of all we had looked around Donegal, saw the castle and then returned to the car park, it was raining more or less continuously, just lighter at times than others! (See stilling doing it) We then started a tour, drove through to Killibegs and as we approached, the mountain tops were in cloud, which didn't bode well. We decided to try to find somewhere to stop, and at the Rally we had been given a little card to Killibegs Motorvan Stop Over, and here we are. It was only opened at Easter, the owner has flattened out the top of a hill and it is about 50ft circular, overlooking the entrance to Killibegs Harbour, It should be a lovely stop on a nice day that is for sure. Electricity, water and dumping facilities are available, no showers etc., but everything else.
23    Noted this one, we didn't stop, wrong time of day: We continued around the R263 towards Glencolumbkille where there is a viewpoint overlooking the village with a picnic table etc
24    Noted this as well, again too early: We drove on to Malin Beg (Head?) where there was a view point and car park, we arrived with an empty car park, stopped for lunch at 1345 and then were joined by about 14 cars in total, coming and going. It was a nice spot for an overnight stay.
25    This was found with difficulty, lovely spot, followed a sign to Dooey Point and have ended up for the night at Tra Beach, well that is what we think it is called. It is windy and we are a-rocking slightly, but it isn't too bad - we are behind sand dunes, down a hill from the road, there is a bungalow at the top, and the beach is a long one used for surfing. Very quiet here, We continued on the track/road to rejoin the N56 to Dunglow.
26    This was after going to Glenveagh National Park on the R254, we then came across Lough Barra which sits under another high mountain Slieve Snaght (683m) and there is a small area to park and see this nature reserve. It is slightly sloping but we put out the levellers and watched a guy and his wife stacking their peat….for 3 hours…back breaking work - then back to Dunglow again.
27    We then carried on all the way down to Millford and back up around another peninsula to Fanad Head. This was really good drive (road awful as usual) but interesting, this is where Tawny/Tamry is. (They can't seem to make up their minds either!). The road back down to Portsalan was good too, as you were high up and able to view the coastlines. At Fanad Head we could see Hord Head, Melmore Head, Rinmore Point to the West and then Dunaff Head and Malin Head to the East of us, really excellent viewpoint. We got to Portsalon and hadn't found anywhere suitable to stop - never is when we want one - and then we found a beach, no camping….. and we were faced with a mountain climb with corkscrew bends. I would have preferred to drive it the next morning, but my husband reckoned there would be viewpoints and we could stop on the mountain. Well he was right, there were, and what views, but they weren't flat or suitable, more like pull ins - not proper viewpoints, so we found ourselves in Rathmullen. Seemed a dead place and it is raining again, but we are parked down by the pier/beach. Pubs, restaurants and toilets close so not too bad.

I will add a bit here - the next bit is the Inishowen Peninsula - make sure this is a MUST DO on your list - it is even signposted well - and we loved it, somehow we had missed it on our previous trip.

28    We then dropped down to Culduff which had a lovely beach and parking area, but a sign saying no camping etc. So on we drove and came across a beach called Tramore Bay and stopped here for the night. It is a small beach and is rocky just off the beach that you can walk on. A few houses up on the hill and that is all. The parking area has recently (very) been tarmaced, and there is a picnic table.
29    After Londonderry, we drove back to the main A2 and followed that through (bypassed) Limavaddy and to Downhill. I then saw a sign to Gortmore - with a viewpoint 3 miles. So here we are up on top of a 1 in 5 hill having driven around a mountain and drive a straight line and we are perched in a parking space right on top overlooking Magilligan Point with a fantastic view. Definitely a nice stop, no signs to say you can't stop the night either, which is good. Hang on it was a HOT day, must note that…
30    We wanted to see the Giant's Causeway before it rained if we could, Drove up and paid €5 to park, the car park and facilities are on Moyle District Council's land and you have to pay, even as an NT member. €1 for the audio visual show too. In the car park, we had asked if we could stay the night, the parking attendant, just said, "I didn't hear and winked at him". Another motorhome was there as well. So ask, and it may be granted.
31    Next afternoon we got to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge (NT) and parked up and walked the 1km down to the bridge. When we got back, we asked if it was possible to stop the night. We were told it wouldn't be a problem. Again ask, it is NT land.
32    We then drove down through Larne and Carrickfergus to Belfast, having decided to visit the National Ulster Folk and Transport Museum which is on the road to Bangor. We got here at 1500 and asked if it would be possible to stop the night in the car park as after speaking to the guy at the reception 2 hours would not be enough, he let us in for free then and we stopped in the car park (did get a knock later to check we were OK, explained we had asked) and he said he would be locking us in, we said no problem. We went to both museums the next day, and definitely worth a visit, very well done.
33    Did Mount Stewart (NT) and returned to near Mount Stewart to the Conningsbury Picnic Spot to stop for the night. It is very nice, but close to the A21, so somewhat noisier than usual as on that evening some young lads decided it was a race track for their motorbikes.
34    We decided to drive part of a tour and as there was a parking viewpoint at Spelga Dam, we would detour to that and stop the night if there were no signs saying no overnight camping. There aren't so we stopped.
35    From the Silent Valley (Belfast Water Reservoir, worth another visit) we drove some more around the Mourne Mountains and then back down to the coast. We went to Newcastle and then we drove back up into them again via another road, and found a night stop at a place called Slieve Meelmore
36     Back into the South again now. Next stop for the night was a beach spot, very breezy, and we are facing the Irish sea, we are somewhere along between Dunany Point and Clogher Head, probably close to a place called Port.

©Carol Weaver
October 2003-10-09

Back to the Travel Page