Ireland is bursting with amazing wild camping spots, but when we were travelling around Ireland in our Spaceships Campervan, we actually struggled to find any information on the web that could point us to the best wild camping spots in Ireland.
So, as we spent 2 weeks road tripping the whole country, we marked all the spots we stayed at and other spots we visited that you could easily wild camp at.
Wild camping basically means what it says ...camping in the wild. This means not paying for a campsite, or staying in an official camping spot.
There are many advantages to wild camping which I will discuss a little further on, but the main one is finding yourself wake up to amazing views each morning.
There are no “free campsites in Ireland”, so you’ve got to create your own ones, via wild camping.
Some things to note that the majority of these wild camping spots can only hold up to 2 or 3 motorhomes or campervans. These spots aren’t for camping with a tent or a caravan and you won’t have access to toilet facilities, water or electricity!
If you are planning on wild caravanning I guess it would be possible, but many of the spots we’ve listed below would be too small to fit your vehicle and your caravan!
So, let’s get right to it, a list of the best places to wild camp in Ireland.
As you can find yourself driving through beautiful Tipperary, you’ll come to a viewing point known as “The Vee”.
It offers stunning views of the mountains and the lake down below and it’s a large parking area that could fit two campervans.
This will be quieter at night, but during the day people will be spotting to visit the beautiful viewing point.
Read Also: Best Things To Do In Tipperary
Hook lighthouse is pretty awesome, and we didn’t actually stay here ourselves.
But when we drove down to the lighthouse we spotted 5 motorhomes all parked up by the water next to the lighthouse.
You’ll have access to the toilet in the actual Hook Lighthouse tourist centre but this closes around 4pm and opens at 9 am.
This is where Bradley and I stayed on our first night wild camping in Ireland, it’s an absolutely beautiful spot and the sunrise and sunset here is brilliant.
There is a smaller and a larger car park and you’ll want to stay at the larger as there are no “no camping signs” and it can fit up to 3 motorhomes and campervans comfortably!
This is a beautiful beach you can access via walking. There are two carparks, the “upper carpark” could fit up to 5 campervans, and the lower could only fit one.
The drive to the lower parking area is a little bit dodgy, so I wouldn’t do it in a motorhome.
But either choice you’re greeted with stunning sea and cliff views.
We didn't stay here ourselves, but it seems like it would be a viable spot.
This is a beautiful secluded spot with only one road in and out.
It’s about a 4 minute drive from Dingle town centre were you could pick up some food.
This wild camping spot is by the water and some beautiful cliffs.
Sometimes people take walks down here, but no one bothers you.
Follow signs to Bhinn Bhan (Bín Bán) and it could fit up to two or three campervans.
Another great spot in Dingle is at the Minard Castle.
The castle itself is beautiful, located by the water with a dramatic look.
You could park maybe half a dozen campervans here. When we visited, there was one settled for the night.
Read Also: Best Things To Do In Dingle
Beautiful cliff area with flat parking and enough room for 2 campervans.
This wild camping spot is close to the Dingle Peninsula and lots of beautiful walks with stunning views.
Molls Gap is a large mountain pass and an amazing place to visit in Killarney.
The parking spot linked above offers stunning views of the green fields of Ireland and you could fit up to two campervans comfortably.
We din;t camp here overnight, but instead just stopped for an hour over lunch. There's very little traffic and imagine you could stay here without any trouble.
Read Also: Best Things To Do In Kerry
This is a great spot that has overnight parking for free near the town centre (follow directions to the health centre, link above).
It’s at the pier area and there are 6 spots for motorhomes and campervans, so it’s a first come first serve basis.
There are public toilets around the corner about a 4 minute walk and they appear to be open all night.
We loved this spot and thought it such a great way to encourage tourism to the small town!
Good spot if you want a drink in town!
The Huntsman Bar were happy for us to park in front of their bar overnight if we had a few drinks in their pub.
We stayed in the car park opposite because there was more room.
We actually had food in Autines Bar and Restaurant which is just across the road.
Both good spots! There is a circle K which has a toilet you can use in the morning.
You will need to ask their permission as this is not a designated camping spot.
Read Also: Best Things To Do In Cork
When it comes to wild camping in Wicklow, there are lots of opportunities around the Wicklow National Park.
You can’t park in the main tourist areas, so you have to be sensible about where you choose.
Choose areas that are quiet and were you would not be causing any inconvenience.
You'll find plenty of small laybys as you drive through the park.
We didn;t bookmark any unfortunately on our trip, so will need to scout them out.
Lough Gill is a beautiful spot and there is a large lay-by that’s advertised on Google as a coach resting spot.
There were no coaches when we arrived, and there would be room for about 3 campervans.
This is part of the Wild Atlantic Way coastal route, and it’s a beautiful spot.
There are actually a few spots you could pull in and park along the way, but the largest area is at the Mullaghmorre head viewpoint in which there is a “Wild Atlantic Way” sign.
You can fit up to 4 campervans/motorhomes here. There were 4 in total when we stayed.
Stunning views to wake up to in the morning, but very windy.
Scenic, dramatic and beautiful is how I would describe Achill island. There’s not much going on the island itself, but the views around this coastline are amazing.
The road to this wild camping spot (linked above) had no one on it and no one came by the whole time we were there.
On of our favourite wild camping spots from the entire trip.
We also saw one campervan parked up just down the road (this spot here) and they stayed all night.
Read Also: Best Things To Do In Mayo
Beautiful beach to wild camp Donegal. Popular with locals, large parking area that could fit up to 3 or 4 motorhome/campervans. When we stayed there was just one other campervan.
This small towns offers free motorhome parking spots. I’m not sure how many in total as we just drove past as we were making our way up to Malin Head., but I would guess around 4-6. It means you can park up and then enjoy some of the bars in the town centre.
Read Also: Best Things To Do In Donegal
Kesh is a little town located in the North of Ireland in Co Fermanagh. It’s got a small car park which is beside the river where the fishermen come in.
They have excellent free shower facilities (prob the best we had in all of camping- including campsites).
This is one of the best wild camping spots in Northern Ireland.
We visit nearby Lough Derg every year, and I've been camping here with my uncles ever since I was a little kid.
On the Saturday morning we then drive here to use the showers.
This is a beautiful spot next to a stunning lake that’s actually very popular for fishing.
It's where we had our last night of camping on our 2 week road trip.
It’s a parking area with picnic tables and bins and it’s next to a main road. However, the main road isn’t overly busy, so you won’t experience any noise issues.
Just be aware of the midges in peak summer time!
There are lots of beautiful beaches in Waterford and you could probably find car parks to wild camp in all over, but this one is quite a good one with great views and enough room for a couple of vans.
Another beautiful beach area with sand dunes and stunning views. There is parking close to the beach and you are close to the town centre if you’d like to grab some food for dinner.
This is a beautiful spot with great views and a picnic table.
We asked the lifeguards if it would be okay to stay overnight and they said yes. You could fit a few campervans.
Lots of people come here throughout the evening to swim in the freezing water - madness!
Before you can even start wild camping, you're going to need a way to get around!
Well, for our 16 day route we used a Spaceships Rentals campervan.
There's plenty of options available in Ireland when it comes to renting a car or campervan, but I can say that Spaceships are a really safe bet. In fact, you can read a full review we wrote of them here.
For more tips, check out my full guide on hiring a campervan in Ireland.
If you're more inclined to drive a car, then Rentalcars.com is always a great place to begin your search.
Or, convert your own like we did! Read More here.
We follow this policy when wild camping in Ireland and you should too.
The leave no trace policy is encouraged all over Ireland and it’s pretty simple, there should be no trace that you were ever there after you leave.
So bring your rubbish with you, don’t cause lots of noise, and don’t park somewhere that could cause inconvenience for other drivers.
Follow these rules and I doubt you’ll have any issues with wild camping in Ireland.
The majority of pubs in Ireland will allow you to park overnight in their carpark (presuming they have one) if you’re going to have a bite to eat or a couple of drinks in their pub.
Ireland has a no tolerance policy when it comes to drink driving.
So you can’t have even one drink. No drinking.
So if you want to have a drink at a pub, you will need to make your own way there and back via alternative transport, or you can ask to stay in their carpark.
If you’re wondering can you wild camp in Ireland, then yes! It’s not illegal.
Basically if there is a sign that says “no wild camping or overnight parking” then you shouldn’t stay there as it’s been noted that you can’t. But you are free to camp in places where these signs aren’t present.
If someone asks you to move on, then simply do so, they won’t be harsh about it. But we didn’t have a single issue with our wild camping locations across our whole trip.
Wild camping gives you amazing views every morning in a unique location each morning.
Don’t get me wrong, the campsites in Ireland are great and to a high standard, but there is nothing quite like waking up in a stunning cliff/beach or lakeside location and you’re all alone, just you and nature. Amazing!
Absolutely! We never felt threatened at any of our wild camping spots in Ireland. We felt safe at every single one. Of course it’s important to use common sense.
Don’t leave valuables on show, lock your doors at night etc. But other than that, you should be fine. Ireland is generally a very safe country, so if you’re backpacking Ireland alone, I wouldn’t be worried.
My favourite part of our wild camping experience was actually wild camping the west coast of Ireland, it’s full of amazing beaches, shorelines, dramatic cliffs and basically breathtaking views in general!
I highly recommend you give wild camping a go.
The way we worked it was 2-3 nights wild camping, then the 3rd night we would stay in one of the great campsites in Ireland.
This was so we had access to showers, and places to clean our clothes and dishes!
It’s important to stay on top of things.
I have to say some of the campsites in Ireland really impressed me when they offered something unique, such as the Apple Farm in Tipperary which was literally on an Apple Farm and you could go strawberry picking in the morning which was awesome.
They even produce their own jams, ciders, juices etc.
So there you have it, my guide on the best wild camping spots Ireland has to offer. I hope you find this post useful and please do comment below with any other wild camping spots that you have stayed in yourself and we can add them in!
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