Bonus point result in a Limerick forest hideaway

This Limerick forest campsite hideaway is perfectly pitched for families.

The Irish Rugby team aren’t the only ones who were taught a lesson last Sunday morning.
While the boys in green were getting the stuffing knocked out of them in Tokyo here I was, in my own head, stuck in the middle of nowhere, without a TV on which to watch the match.
From the outset of our campervan odyssey in 2017 it was a policy decision not to have a telly in the van as part of our quest for adventure in the great outdoors.
So here I was in a forest on the River Shannon estuary pulling my hair out (metaphorically of course, or should that be metafollically? Never mind). The point is we are camped up in Limerick, the spiritual home of Irish Rugby, just down the road from where the maestro scrum-half, Conor Murray is from, and there is no television to watch the rugby world cup.
Usually campsites will have a TV set in the campers’ kitchen or common room or in the café, but not here.
As the match wore on I gradually realised that I was missing nothing. Glued to the transistor radio, like we did for the Gaelic Games or the soccer back in the day before the Rigneys started playing and established that rugby wasn’t just for the Blackrock boarders and the Dublin 4 crowd.
What better way to listen to a match while camping than on the radio? This way you could be part of the action, sucked onto the side-line by Micheál O’ Hehir or O’ Muircheartaigh, John Motson or Jimmy Hill.
Who needs a telly? A valuable lesson learned and a bonus point result for me from Curraghchase Campsite. It brought me back down to earth, back to my roots and the reasons why I bought in to this camping journey in the first place - to chill out, get back to nature, get away from it all, to take a break from the computer, the phone, the TV - old habits die hard.
Curraghchase campsite is a calm spot, embedded at the heart of the 774 acre Curragh Chase Forest Park and under new management since 2015. It’s an ideal getaway/hideaway for couples, families and kids. They do not take group bookings and access is by a code on the perimeter barrier.
Nestled just off the N69 from Kilcornan the Curraghchase Caravan & Camp Site is snugly situated in the woods sandwiched in between Askeaton, Adare and Kildimo.

If you need any provisions pack them and stock up in advance. There is no shop or supplies on the secluded site.
The rest of the facilities here are spotless and clearly cared for by the team in charge. The pitches are spacious in a forest setting with easy access to multiple wooded walks and cycle tracks. If this is not your speed there is little else to do but it’s perfect and safe for children with plenty of swings, slides and playground amenities.

Barbecues are allowed as long as they are off the ground and dogs are permitted on a leash. The forest park is a favourite with walkers and day-trippers have access to parking up at the campsite de Vere’s Café which is popular for its barista coffee and herbal teas.

The landed gentry always had a good eye for picking an area of outstanding scenic beauty to camp up and the original estate was home to the Hunt and de Vere family for three centuries, birthplace of the poet Aubrey de Vere. Today the big house is unoccupied and while not completely in ruins, it has no roof, but its stone façade still gives a glimpse of its once imposing presence.
The lines of an Irish poem once drilled in to me in school spring to mind: Clann Rickard a bhí tréin, cá bhuil a réim inniu?
If you fancy venturing further abroad than the confines of the forest park then the quaint and picture postcard village of Adare; the Foynes Flying Boat Museum; Stonehall Wildlife Park; Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and Limerick City itself with attractions such as King John’s Castle are all billed as nearby attractions with Adare about 10 minutes and Limerick 20 minutes’ drive from the campsite.

Despite this proximity the site retains its relative seclusion and tranquillity once you are enveloped by the forest and the splendid specimens of trees in the park. At this time of ear the season lends itself to foraging for black berries and hazel nuts and wild mushrooms if you know your stuff in that department. The advice from Vanhalla is that while you can eat all mushrooms, some of them only once!! So do take care and don’t take chances.

For our excursion we chanced the nearby Stonehall Wildlife Park. This is a well-intended family-run visitor attraction in a farm setting. I am all for the educational value for pet farms but have serious reservations about the manner in which owls and even squirrels are caged up here. It would be far better if the vast tract of land was cultivated as a natural habitat and we would gladly take our chances of spotting a red squirrel or a barn owl in the wild, rather than cooped up in cages. The pet farm is not without its merits and the sheep, horses, goats, pigs and peacocks and the like seemed perfectly content.

The €9 admission charge per head, including children, is a bit steep too.
As for the Curraghchase Campsite itself, it offers good value and great amenities and for two adults and one child, with electricity for two nights the total cost was €56. There is no charge or time restriction on the showers.

So all told it was a bonus point result in this Limerick forest hideaway, perfectly pitched for families.
Footnote: With the onset of autumn I noticed that our awning was not rewinding flush in its casing and this was due to leaves, twigs and husks from the forest canopy gathering in the gully and it wound back fine once cleaned out.