Rob and I recently were lucky enough to be invited to our first camping trip in Ireland. Our new friends invited us to tag along for their 40th Birthday celebration. As with most campers we have met – these guys love camping. But more than a love for camping, they are avid campers. What makes them so over qualified for camping is that they are mountaineers! They all met at university – and were part of the moutaineering club back in the day. So you could say that we were safely in the hands of experts in Ireland.
Rob and I have always enjoyed the odd camping excursion. Back in South Africa, we enjoyed going camping with a few regular camping friends. In fact our first ever camping trip together was in the Pilanesberg. I tried looking through my pictures of that first camping trip, and realised the only pictures I snapped were of the animals we saw on our game drive (shame, tough life back in Africa – score one for South African camping!). For context, and for the purpose of showing the differences between South Africa and Ireland camping, I found this image via Google of the campsite in Pilanesberg:
So we like camping, and back home we had been slowly building up all the necessary camping equipment. Something Rob taught me very early on, the trick with enjoying camping is going away with the right gear. If you are kitted out enough – it makes the experience much more enjoyable. And he was right, even with our first experience getting off to a shaky start (we arrived at the campsite, at night, and had to pitch a tent that we were not familiar with – in the dark!), I have loved all our camping trips together. What makes it so much fun is that I get to plan and organise to a point, but once we are all set up – then its pure relaxing, you can really step away from the hustle and bustle, and just be at one with the great outdoors (I realise this sounds super cheesy, but it is true).The differences between camping in Ireland vs South Africa? Read this post! Click To Tweet
The only major stumbling block to camping in Ireland was that we brought over absolutely none of our camping gear. Although we didn’t sell it with everything else we got rid over back home. All our camping gear is inconveniently sitting in storage, all the way back in South Africa. But Ruth and John were determined to have us join them. They arranged between the extra gear they owned, and all their mountaineering friends, and rallied to find us a tent, sleeping mats, sleeping bags – all the camping essentials. They even gave us a lift to the campsite and back home after. If that wasn’t enough, they fed us too. We were treated to the five star Irish camping experience, perhaps you could even call it glamping since someone helped us put up the tent when we arrived. So camping in Ireland definitely is way better than home (score ten for Ireland – thanks John, Ruth and friends!)
A little info on where we stayed:
We camped at a spot just outside of Tipperary, on the way to Limerick, called Ballinacourty House. It was an absolutely stunning location, with a beautiful view of the Galtee Mountains. Also close to a great biking park where the guys went off to mountain bike the one afternoon. It cost us 9 euro a night to pitch a tent, per person (excluding electricity). Camping in Ireland might be the way we explore more of this beautiful country, because under a tenner for a night is a huge cost saving in my books! Plus, this particular camping spot allows you to bring dogs! John and Ruth’s neighbours have the coolest giant schnauzer called Harper who got to come camping with all of us. On the camping grounds there is a walled garden with beautiful flowers, I took a million pictures of all the beautiful flowers – I definitely think it is a spot I would love to take Rob’s parents to, I know they would love it there!
Here are a few pics from the weekend:
So what are the differences between camping in Ireland versus camping in South Africa?
- Pitching a tent in Ireland is a whole lot easier. (and that is not because someone did it for us). The ground is so soft that the pegs just sink into the ground – in South Africa one of the key camping essentials is a big hammer to hammer the pegs into the dry, arid ground.
- Not every camp spot has their own BBQ facilities. Every campsite in South Africa has braai (BBQ) facilities next to every tent! In Ireland, you have to bring your own, or in some cases, there are communal facilities that you share with the other campers.
- Recycling depots. I love that all throughout Ireland there are facilities you can use that help you to recycle. It is not so big back home, and I have never seen collection points for plastic, bottles and general waste all separated at an actual campsite until we were in Ireland.
- Plan for all weather types in one day. In Ireland it can honestly be all four seasons in one hour. On our camping trip we had a bit of everything. It was cold at night (I did not pack enough warm clothes!), was misty in the mornings, and then it cleared up and was such a beautiful sunny day (I even got sun-burnt on my feet, because it was the first time wearing sandals in Ireland!). So bring sunblock, plus a thick coat. It is kind of weird that even though it rained, it didn’t ruin the camping experience. Back in South Africa, if you went camping and it started to rain, you would probably pack up and go home early. But I will say the rain here in Ireland is not like back home. It is more of a light drizzle, and you hardly experience thunderstorms, so it is not all together too bad.
- Midgies versus Miggies – it is important that you know the difference. In South Africa we have these pesty bugs that fly around in a group, just annoying you. They will fly into your face, and just generally buzz about. Those are called Miggies. Midgies are something we have only encountered in Ireland. These little buggers are lethal. They are like a cruel mix of a mosquito and a red ant. When they attack, you know it. But they are very tricky to really spot, they look like miggies, but they bite, so that means they are far the worst. We tried several midgie sprays, plus wore thick layers and covered up – and still got attacked.
I have to say that we love camping – whether it is in Ireland or in South Africa. It is great to be outside, and away from the city. It was just the kind of mini-break we needed. A huge thanks to our new friends, John and Ruth, for making such a big effort to make our very first camping trip in Ireland a memorable one. We know that there will be more camping trips in our future, and we hope that one day, we can pay it forward and help someone out just like they helped us.
Do you like camping? Where is your favourite place to camp?
Unlock the simple life,
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