The nice thing about Ireland is that it’s an island, and a fairly small one at that. Which means – it’s perfect to drive yourself around. I’m a believer that having the freedom to explore and discover on your own when travelling has the potential to make the trip WAY better. This is something I would never say about the GiveBack GiveAway trips though! Anyways, my strong feelings for this freedom meant it was crucial for our two week trip around Ireland this summer to have the liberty to venture and explore the corners of the country with our own wheels.
Our two week journey started in Dublin. My travel twin Johnny was returning back to Ireland as a sort of ‘homecoming’ after completing his journey of visiting every country in the world. I jumped at the chance to roam the country with a local. Johnny and I sat down and planned the entire journey over coffees, instead of beers for once. It took us a few hours and once we tallied up the list of places to visit it was clear we had no option but to get to all these places by private vehicle.
We looked into renting a car, which may have been fine, except we had two friends wanting to come and join us for the majority of the trip. Sinead, from Ireland, and Stina, from Sweden, are two close friends who had both joined on our very first GiveBack GiveAway trip to Senegal in 2015. We knew if there was going to be four of us with backpacks and suitcases we’d need something bigger than a tiny European sedan. So a camper van was the obvious upgrade for the four of us to get around the country easily and comfortably.
Where To Get Your Van
We picked up our campervan from Bunk Campers on a warm Sunday morning. Their location in Dublin is super conveniently located only a kilometre away from the international airport. Making it easy to land and get straight on the road.
The Campers Bells and Whistles
Our camper was the size of a commercial tradesman’s van. It was bulky but not overkill. It was equipped with the following useful amenities:
- Double bed in the back with bedding included.
- Kitchen sink, cupboards and basic kitchen utensils.
- Gas burner stove and gas heater.
- Mood lighting and sound system throughout.
- There was a bathroom equipped with a shower and a toilet.
- Ample storage and pretty much everything you need to actually live for months on end.
How Does It Drive
Ireland has some of the smallest streets I can think of out of anywhere in the world I’ve been. You would think that this means they have slower speed limits, however quite the contrary. Rarely do you see a speed limit under 80 km/h. But once you get a feel for tight turns and constant breaking, it’s a piece of cake.
The few motorways in Ireland are spacious and wide with speeds limits of 120 km/h. So when we left the Bunk Campers office and headed south out of Dublin towards Cork it was a good introduction to how the van handled, which was beautiful. I should note that if you are from US or Canada, you should be comfortable driving a manual transmission as the majority, if not all of the vehicles are standards. Also, there’s the driving on the left that takes some focusing on.
How was it on gas?
It was really quite good. The cost to fill up was around 80 Euros. We only stopped for gas a handful of times. All together it was just over 200 Euros to drive around the entire loop of the countries. You can check out the lastest petrol rate here.
We only had two weeks, which was a good amount of time but we definitely could have used a few extra days. If you plan on doing both the South and North of Ireland you’ll probably want just over two weeks. If you just want to see the south, 2 weeks is perfect. I go into more details about routes here.
Where To Stay
In the high season, Ireland feels like it’s completely booked out. Hotels are full, tourist spots are full and as always, so are the pubs. This also goes for places to park your caravan for the night. Booking well in advance would be the first suggestion but if you find yourself stuck for spot, a good bet is to ask some B&Bs, pub or supermarket if they would have some space to stay the night.