Van Advice Ireland
Ireland is van paradise! The Irish are warm, welcoming and incredibly easy-going with regard to vans & overnight parking - essentially you can sleep anywhere, provided you leave no trace of having been there. Stick to smaller coastal roads and you'll be blown away by the stunning beaches you can park by where you won't be disturbed and can go for a morning swim after breakfast. N.B. in touristy areas, carparks and viewpoints often have signs prohibiting overnight parking but just keep on driving down that same road, there will be a layby waiting 5mins away with the same breathtaking views. After having spent one month in Ireland, and not had to stay at one single campsite, here our top tips:
ask the local farmers - every single one of them was glad to help (be prepared to stand and chat a little while!)
following advice from locals, Aldi and Lidl are by far the cheapest places to shop, often with most choice. Buy fresh fish from local fishmongers.
those of you with pop-top roofs, consider sleeping downstairs on occasions... the West Coast of Ireland is crazy windy and gusts can knock you over. Sleeping in your pop-top is possible but will feel like you're on a sail boat in a storm. Preserve your pop-top seams by sleeping downstairs.
watch out for "resource centers" (1EUR for a shower) or "leisure centers" (often attached to hotels and free). Or take sea showers using biodegradeable soap.
not all Irish towns have public bins so petrol stations are your best bet. Or the bins on public beaches. The Irish rock at recycling. Every village, town and city has a recycling lot with big coloured bins for glass and aluminium.
stop by official caravan parks and be prepared to pay up to 5EUR to use their facilities.
- You don't need an alarm clock in Ireland - the sheep will wake you.
- Bring clothes for all weather and never trust the weather forecast. Within a day you can see sunshine, rain, mist and gale force winds.
- It's handy to be able to dry out your clothes inside the van - you could hit several days of wet weather and it's not cool feeling damp (if you have AC in your van you can speed up the drying process when driving around).