Happy campers: 10 tremendous camping spots for an outdoor Irish staycation (2023)

Many of us might be hightailing it out of here for sunnier climes this summer but the humble camping trip is still delivering, albeit with fresh and exciting options, from glamping and bubble domes to eco-conscious pitches and seaside escapes. Here are 10 of the best around the country.

Pure Camping, Co Clare

The clue is in the name as to what this laid-back campsite near Kilkee has to offer.

Run by husband-and-wife team Kevin and Trea Heapes, there’s a real sense of hands-on care about the place.

Opt for a fully-furnished bell tent, one of the cute cosy cabins or lodges with woodfired stoves or find a secluded pitch among the wild woodland.

Eco credentials include rainwater showers with views of the treetops, morning yoga classes and a rustic sauna.

The communal kitchen, outdoor pizza oven and open firepits make for a sociable atmosphere and kids will love the regular visits from resident hens, dogs and cats.


  • Pitches from €10 p/n, bell tents €70, cabins €190
  • purecamping.ie
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Hidden Valley, Co Wicklow

This campsite, just 40 minutes from Dublin, is a well-oiled machine, balancing serenity among the trees with high-octane fun.

The Splash Valley inflatable water park is the big draw here but there’s also laser tag, bumper boats, kayaking, paddle boats, mini golf, football, downhill tubing, a cinema, arts and crafts and a kids’ disco.

Accommodation caters for just about every whim, from grass pitches along the pretty river to touring pitches with electric, water and waste hookup, glamping options and boutique lodges for those who want all the perks of camping life without the soggy tent.

The site is also dog-friendly so you can bring the pooch.


Apple Tree Farm, Co Tipperary

A bottle of homemade apple juice awaits campers at this lovely laidback campsite on the grounds of a working apple orchard near Cahir, where life goes at a slower pace.

Almost everything here is homemade, from the array of preserves in the farm shop to the camper’s kitchen converted from an old apple store.

The site caters for just 60 people in tents, caravans or campervans, with plots spread out among the apple trees giving everyone plenty of privacy.

There are also solar-powered hot showers (for as long as you like), a free tennis court, and a chance to pick your own strawberries, depending on the month.


Wavecrest Caravan and Camping, Co Kerry

If it’s scenic seaside camping you’re after you can’t get much better than this family-run campsite overlooking Kenmare Bay with pitches that offer secluded privacy and dramatic sea views.

Onsite facilities include a play area and a deli and shop selling the full gamut, from barbecue food to cakes and scones.

The setting is the main sell, though, with Blue Flag beach Derrynane and Derrynane House and Gardens a few minutes away, a pub and playground in Caherdaniel village and plenty of options to hit the water with kayaking, surfing, sailing or a dolphin and whale watching tours.


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Finn Lough, Co Fermanagh

It might not be your traditional camping pitch but if you fancy stargazing in comfort without having to unzip the canvas you’ll love these luxury bubble domes on the shores of the Fermanagh Lakelands.

The domes feature 180-degree transparent walls bringing you as close to nature without feeling the chill and without compromising on comforts.

Each one is decked out with luxury add-ons including a Nespresso machine, four-poster beds, fluffy robes and breakfast to your door in the morning.

All the luxury camping credentials for the lazy camper without a campfire sausage in sight.


  • Forest bubble domes from £310 per night including breakfast
  • finnlough.com
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Nore Valley Park, Co Kilkenny

Good old fashioned fun meets the simple life at this popular camping spot near Kilkenny city where the focus is on the little ones.

The combination of camping (pitch, mobiles, glamping), activity centre and open farm make it a win-win where a good night’s sleep is guaranteed after a day of hay bounces and trailer rides, crazy golf, giant chess, go-karting and feeding animals on the farm.

In true farm-style there’s homemade bread, pizza and handy cupboard staples from the on-site shop and lovely river walks through the farm and nearby woodland.


Morriscastle Strand Holiday Park, Co Wexford

On a good day, it can feel like you’re brushing Caribbean shores at this beachside campsite in the sunny southeast, where you can pitch your tent on the edge of the dunes and where you can enjoy the sunset from your pod, campervan, or caravan or take a sunrise swim on the beautiful Blue Flag beach, which stretches for a good 20km.

There’s a slew of fun activities on offer without having to leave the site, from basketball, fishing, mini-golf, multiple playgrounds, to football and tennis onsite, and the bonus of Lawlor’s Shop just a short stroll away which sells everything you could possibly need for a camping weekend including pizza, crepes and wine.


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Westport House, Co Mayo

Combine some freewheeling along the Western Greenway with a few nights at historic Westport House where there are more than enough activities to keep the entire brood happy.

Kids can go wild at the onsite Pirate Adventure park or enjoy zorbing, ziplining and sliding down the cannonball run.

There’s table tennis, pitch ‘n’ putt, fishing and laser combat, and tales of pirates and kings on guided tours of the historic house.

The onsite café and pizza restaurant means you needn’t leave the grounds but with Westport Town just a few minutes stroll away, you’ve got your pick of great eateries and pubs within spitting distance.


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Clifden Eco Beach, Co Galway

You won’t find a slew of action-packed activities at this campsite on the shores of Connemara’s Wild Atlantic Way but a more simple, slow pace of life with the focus on free, outdoor fun.

Nestled among the dunes with panoramic views of the ocean, this award-winning ecological park is Ireland’s first eco-certified carbon-neutral premises without a plastic bottle or disposable barbecue in sight.

You’ll be gathering around a beach campfire instead, fishing and swimming in the crystal-clear waters and decompressing in an oak whiskey barrel seaweed bath right on the secluded beach.


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Wild Atlantic Camp, Co Donegal

For those campers who can’t be bothered pitching a tent but enjoy all the perks of camping life, these glamping pods overlooking Sheephaven Bay on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way are a good happy medium.

But you can step it up a notch with their luxury glamping villas, cabins or lovely bell tents, plus there’s plenty of space to pitch a tent or bring a motorhome.

There’s also a glut of activities from foot golf and tennis to bike hire, a playground, and surfing on one of the six Blue Flag beaches nearby.


On the wild side

Wild camping in Ireland requires the landowner’s permission but there are plenty who are happy to let you pitch your tent on their land as long as you follow a few rules. There are also a few designated wild camping spots.

  • Leave no trace. It’s a no-brainer, and is fast becoming the rule wherever you camp. If you bring it with you, you take it home — no exceptions.
  • Ask for permission in advance to avoid being booted out of your tent in the middle of the night.
  • Keep your campsite small and discreet, use biodegradable products, and bring home any rubbish or leftover food.
  • Campfires are discouraged. Instead, bring a lightweight stove to cook. If you don’t have a stove, keep fires small and avoid burning plastics or other substances. And remember to put out fires completely and scatter the ashes when they’re cooled.
  • Campsites must be at least 400m from a road capable of carrying a vehicle and 400m from a building.

Total Camping Ireland has a list of wild camping spots around the country.

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