Motorhome/Campervan holiday - the best way to see Ireland with all your home comforts
One of the best ways to holiday in Ireland is by hiring a campervan or motorhome. It can also be the most economical. You can eat, sleep and travel around the country all under one roof. Campervans are a great way to experience a family holiday, travelling wherever you want, at your own pace and still enjoying many of your home comforts. Combining your transport with your accommodation simplifies your holiday experience and allows you greater freedom. So whether you are an experienced motorhomer or you are trying it out for the first time, this is a great opportunity to discover a new holiday experience.
There are many campervan hire companies in Ireland offering all shapes and sizes of campervans and motorhomes for hire. You can hire small 2 berth compact campervans or RVs that can sleep your family comfortably with plenty of space. Most motorhome & campervan hire companies offer unlimited mileage so you don’t have to worry about how far you travel on your holiday in Ireland. Many also offer collection and drop-off points throughout the country where you can pick up your unit and get a detailed handover from their experienced staff. For information on hiring a motorhome in Ireland click here Camping Ireland
Here are some tips & advice to help you enjoy your motorhome holiday in Ireland.
1. Hire a campervan from a reputable Irish company
Always make sure that when you are hiring a motorhome that you do so from a reputable company. You need to have expert advice and back-up service available to you at all times. The following companies who are members of Camping Ireland have a proven record of providing efficient service, a wide range of vehicles, and the best value for money in Irish camper van hire:-
Leanne from Bunk Campers has some wise words – “What is important is not which is the cheapest, but what offers the best value for your holiday”. Make sure you talk to the hire company before you book to make sure you are getting something that suits your needs and you can manage easily.
All campervan hire companies will insist on a security deposit. According to Keith from Camp & Cruise Motorhomes security deposits will be taken by credit card only. However, sometimes excess cover insurance may be offered to reduce this amount.
2. Collecting your motorhome
When you collect your motorhome make sure you get a full and extensive handover explaining how all the features of the motorhome work. Make sure you are comfortable taking the motorhome away so your holiday can start the moment you leave.
Garry from Causeway Campers says “We provide a 45 minute detailed handover to our customers before they leave with their campervan. This is very important before anyone leaves the yard”.
Before you set off make sure everything is securely put away in the unit as you don’t want anything flying around in the back as you are cruising out of Dublin on the M50! Ensure all passengers are in designated travel seats.
3. Driver’s Licence requirements for campervan hire in Ireland
Don’t forget to bring your Driver’s Licence with you. You will also need to present the licence for any other named drivers. If you have a standard car license (B) this entitles you to drive any vehicle up to 3.5 tonnes. This includes most family campervans low profiles and some of the more compact A Class motorhomes on the market. However larger campervans for hire from 3.5 tonnes to 7.5 tonnes require the next step up, a (C1) license. You should bear in mind that once you drive a C1 category vehicle, rules and regulations vary. This includes speed limits and weight restrictions in some areas and on certain bridges.
4. Ask before you leave
Know your motorhome’s height and width dimensions. Don’t leave it to guesswork as you approach a low bridge or height barrier, you may regret taking that route! Make sure you have out-of-hours contact numbers for the campervan hire company should you need to contact them at the weekend or evenings. Always ask what support is available should you need assistance, including roadside assistance.
Tanya Mullane, Anchorpoint Motorhomeshas a great tip before you set off - pull away a few yards and stop to check that nothing has been left behind. There is nothing worse than arriving to your destination and realise you have left the electric cable in the yard or driveway!
5. What’s included
Motorhomes usually come with all the necessary equipment – kitchen equipment, gas, electric hook-up cable and water hose. However, you will need to either hire bed-linen and other items or bring them with you. Always check before you pick-up up your motorhome as to what is included. The following items will probably need to be hired or you can bring with you.
- Camping furniture
- Child seat
- Toilet chemicals
- Extra gas
Most campervan hire companies in Ireland will offer a value pack including some or all of the above which you will be able to hire for a fee.
Top tip from Bunk Campers – Don’t forget to pack a torch.
It can be daunting the first time you drive a motorhome. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. You don’t want to be under pressure navigating a big unfamiliar vehicle. Call ahead if you are going to be late and if possible travel during daylight.
If you have a sat nav make sure it is plugged in before you leave and put in your destination details before you leave the depot.
Download the Camping Ireland App which includes a map showing the registered/approved sites and includes a route planner. The app is free to download through iTunes or Google Play.
7. Keep within the speed limit
- Republic of Ireland Motorways: 120km/h National roads: 80km/h Towns and built up areas: 50km/h
- Northern Ireland Motorways: 70mph Open road: 60mph Towns and built up areas: 30mph
8. Rules of the Road
- Driving is on the left throughout Ireland. Be extra careful at crossroads and roundabouts.
- Stay within the speed limit.
- Seat belts must be worn at all times and by everyone in the vehicle.
- It is illegal to use a hand held mobile phone whilst driving
9. Parking the campervan
Always park in a designated parking area. Make sure that if it is pay parking that you purchase a ticket. Don’t park where you may obstruct traffic or in an area where parking is prohibited. Always follow the signs.
10. Overnight stops
We recommend at all times parking overnight in only a registered/approved caravan park. Camping Ireland has over 100 members all offering quality approved facilities. All our member parks have been inspected by Fáilte Ireland. Download the Camping Ireland App to use when travelling around.
It is advisable to always book ahead and plan your route before your travel, particularly during high season. Sites can be very busy during the main holiday periods and you don’t want to be left disappointed if you can’t get into a site. Also, some parks have only a limited supply of electric hook-up pitches so it is advisable to book early.
When you arrive on a site always be mindful of people moving around, particularly children when you drive into the site or to your pitch. Always make sure that the pitch is suitable for your vehicle and if possible to try and park on a level pitch. Don’t forget to engage your handbrake at all times when your motorhome is stationary or parked up.
11. Cooking in your motorhome
For some the idea of cooking on holiday isn’t appealing. However, most campervans for hire have all the equipment and utensils you will need to whip up a delightful dinner for all the family. Come prepared with pre-cooked meals from home. Also, it is important to try the local foods. Make mealtimes in your campervan an exciting event. Use local ingredients to make up some fabulous meals and treats. Most towns now have weekly farmers markets. These are great places to pick-up locally grown fresh produce, some which might be unique to that area. If you are travelling along the coast you might be able to pick-up fish fresh off the fishing boats. Many farmers also have their own farm shop where you can pick up fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs.
Most sites allow small BBQs and some sites even have communal BBQs which can be used by visitors on the site. If you are planning to BBQ check with the site-owner to ensure this is allowed and if there are any restrictions. Most sites don’t allow BBQs directly on the ground. This also applies to fire pits.
12. Re-fuelling your motorhome
As we all know, it pays to shop around for most things, particularly fuel. So research fuel prices before you travel to find the most economical outlets. Also, it might be worth getting a loyalty card for fuel outlets and avail of discounts and/or offers. Make sure that you have enough fuel on board as distance between fuel stations can vary, particularly in rural areas. Fill up before you set off to a new location, if possible.
13. Beat the weather
Ireland’s climate can be unpredictable. When it does rain there is plenty of room to shelter in your motorhome. Slip in a CD and listen to some relaxing music. Many campervans also have on-board DVD player which means you can pop in a movie for the kids to watch. Also, don’t forget to pack a deck of cards and some board games. A motorhome can be a great chill-out space for everyone to relax and read a book or listen to music.
14. Get the power
Where possible choose a pitch that has electric hook-up. It is important that you keep your battery charged. This should be done daily if possible. You will need power to light your motorhome, heat it, for hot water and, in most cases, to flush your toilet. Motorhomes come with a 12 volt electrical system, but will also need a mains connection. To connect to the mains on a campsite you will need a 16amp orange cable with 3 pin blue external connectors, usually available in 10 or 25 metre lengths.
You will most likely need a home connection which has a short cable with standard 3 pin household plug on one end and external female connection on the other end which hooks up to the mains lead. When connected to the mains, the leisure battery is being charged, while the 12V system is effectively being operated by the mains supply. In general the mains supply is not connected to the engine starter battery.
15. Waste & water
- Always dispose of your rubbish responsibly. Put your rubbish in the bins provided, recycle where possible and leave the area as you found it.
- It is vital that you empty your chemical toilet daily. Nobody wants a smelly motorhome! This must be done at proper waste disposal facilities which are located at campsites.
- Replenish with fresh water daily.
- To maintain an enjoyable campervan environment we recommend emptying your grey water tank regularly. By emptying your tank on a regular basis you can avoid carrying unnecessary weight which can increase your fuel costs.
Most campervans/motorhomes use gas for cooking, operating your fridge and in some cases, for hot water and heating. It is vital that gas is turned off at all times when driving your campervan. Always make sure that you have enough gas for the rest of the day as there is nothing worse than running out in the middle of cooking the dinner!
17. Returning your campervan
When you are collecting your campervan always make sure you are fully informed on what is required when you are returning it at the end of your holiday. Do you have to have the fuel tank full; is there a cleaning charge; return of damage deposit; what is the return time? It is always wise to know in advance and avoid any surprises at the end of your memorable holiday.
Always return your motorhome by the agreed time. According to Sue Best, Lazy Days VW Campervan hirethis is very important. “The next customer may be collecting the vehicle within hours of your return time which gives us only a small window to clean out the van and have it ready for the next customer” according to Sue.
Always return your van clean. A cleaning fee may be taken from your security deposit if it isn’t clean. Gavin Gerrard from West Coast Campervans stresses this. “Always make sure the campervan is clean when you return it and don’t forget the chemical toilet.”
I hope these tips and advice help you to really enjoy your motorhome or campervan holiday in Ireland. There is no better way to see the country with all your own home comforts. Don’t forget to check out all the great caravan & camping sites throughout Ireland before you travel. It is always wise to book ahead so you won’t be disappointed or have a wasted journey.
There are over 100 quality approved caravan & camping parks throughout Ireland. Sites offer top class facilities with many onsite amenities. There is a variety of sites around Ireland. Maybe you are looking for a quiet site where you can pitch up and use the site as a base for travelling around. Maybe you want a site where there is a playground for your kids or even sites where there are a host of onsite activities for all the family to enjoy. Whatever you want Camping Ireland has something for everyone.
For information on these sites, the facilities they offer and other information log onto our website Camping Ireland Enjoy the independence and flexibility that camping in Ireland can offer in quality approved sites. We look forward to welcoming you to outdoor living.
Want to find out more about caravan & camping in Ireland and hear updates first? Sign up for our newsletter on our website www.campingireland.ie Follow us on Facebook CampingIreland Instagram Camping_Ireland