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Everything is autumn – awesome opportunities for great off-peak camping

Everything is autumn – awesome opportunities for great off-peak camping

There are numerous advantages to off-peak autumn camping, including less crowds, no queues and more space at campsites and parking spots.

At 4.30pm the sun was siting pretty in the sky. The temperature gauge on Spooney’s gable wall on the promenade in Lahinch read a smashing 22 degrees. It even flickered to 23 at one stage. The Met service says the mercury hit 27 degrees on Tuesday.

That can’t be right said Ben from the Surf Clinic taking a break to survey the clean sets of rolling waves that had summoned even some of the locales seasoned water men and women.

The lifeguards were on their toes too. The beach was busy with swimmers and toddlers paddling. There was a great stir about the self-styled surf city, LA Hinch. With construction works progressing the facelift along the waterfront is taking shape and looking good.

There was a run on sun block and 99’s. The fresh fish’n’chips from Vaughan’s on the Prom were also going down a treat at €11.95. It was Monday just gone, September 6th.

Ardmore from the sea by Charles Coughlan

Drenched in the amber of a beautiful sunset Ardmore Seaview Motorhome Park, more affectionately known as Dick’s Field. This wonderful vista was captured from the water by motorhome enthusiast and photographer Charles Coughlan earlier this week. Dick’s Field has been busy all summer and it’s easier to get a spot there in September.

Autumn Caming Cover pic

Clifden Eco-Beach camping is one of the places which remain open to facilitate autumn campers.

Camping perch
Lahinch 22 degrees
22 degrees on the dial in Lahinch this week.
Lahinch spaces
Parked up on the prom in Lahinch. It’s worth noting that with coach tours resumed motorhomes are no longer permitted to park in the bus bays and are being ticketed by the traffic wardens if they do so.

While the end of August and back to school signals the end of the camping season for many, for those in the know, those committed and invested in the lifestyle of motorhome and campervan culture and the hardcore van lifers realise that this is arguably the best time of the year for camping.

Off-peak camping in September and October offers some of the best value and best options for camping in the entire year. Even if work commitments and back-to-school curb your midweek there’s plenty to explore over the remaining weekends before the winter chill sets in.

There are numerous advantages to autumn camping.

It is less expensive; less crowded; easier to find a spot on a campsite (or elsewhere); beaches, greenways, blue ways, and other places of interest are not mobbed with staycation crowds; there are no queues; traffic in popular resorts is lighter; there are more competitive and flexible rates and greater availability for hiring motorhomes or booking campsites with no minimum stay restrictions; and with venues reopening there’s an opportunity to socialise, eat out and even take in some live music again.

About Us Vanhalla Team Fun Photo
The Vanhalla crew on tour and having fun at Clifden Eco Beach Camping.
Camping picnic
The sound of silence and solitude is part of the attraction of the great outdoors in the autumn, when you can have the most spectacular landscape all to yourself.
Camping space
Camping sunset
Autumn sunsets and sunrises are a thing of beauty.
Connemara combi
A VW combi on tour in Connemara. They also do a great chowder and open crab meat sambo in Sweeney’s of Claddaghduff.
Connemara wild
Sure where would you get it…
Durrow gig
Great to see live music back also. This mighty bluegrass session headed up by Woodbine and friends, outdoors in Bob’s Bar in Durrow last weekend.
Durrow session
Salthill Camping
Salthill Caravan and Camping as seen from space, with lots of spaces compared to the hectic summer season.

For those who enjoy the west coast and the Wild Atlantic Way route the ocean’s water is at it’s warmest this time of year with the warm current of the Gulf Stream still doing a good job and the heat of the summer still lingering in the sea at about 17 degrees, which should hold steady until the end of October. This is great for those who fancy a dip, swim or a surf on shorelines, so much more relaxed and accessible than the height of the holiday season in July and August.

Right now, is a great time to check out that campsite that has been booked out all summer as availability has really opened up in the past week. While some sites will close as normal, the feedback we are getting at Vanhalla is that many locations are opting to play-it-by-ear and will remain open if there’s demand. Some campsites have already announced that they intend to extend their traditional season and remain open until Halloween and the mid-term break. There are of course the campsites and Aires which remain open all year round in any event. All these options are worth exploring with a simple phone call or email.

Lunch at the Sea Hare Cleggan
Lunch at the highly recommended pop-up restaurant, The Sea Hare in Cleggan is a treat which can still be enjoyed into September. Cleggan is of course the base for the ferry to Inishbofin

To take advantage of the autumn opportunities one of the popular motorhome forum groups, Total Motorhome Ireland has teamed up with over 20 taverns around the country to offer favourable discounts to members in a Stay, Eat and Save promotion, which sounds mutually beneficial to the motorhomers and the venues.

Usually around this time of year we look forward to heading to the Inter-Counties surfing contest in Rossnowlagh and the Jazz n Blues Festival in Dunfanaghy, which are both still curtailed due to the various health protocol restrictions, which have led to the cancellation of so many popular festivals this year. One event which is going ahead is Vantastival, a music and campervan festival, which takes place in Beaulieu House & Gardens in Drogheda this Friday and Saturday September 10th and 11th. You will find them and ticket info at

Other great events worth checking out this time of year are the Doolin Folk Festival which features Steve Cooney, Andy Irvine, Kila and Bone Machine on quite a brilliant three day line-up from September 17th to 19th; further up the coast is the Clifden Arts Festival where Vanhalla favourite Greenshine are on the bill; while the Cashel Arts Festival in Tipperary is also running from September 16th to 19th. Songwriters Colum Sands and Mickey McConnell are among those heading for the Listowel Storytelling Festival also running this weekend from September 17th. No end in sight for arts and entertainment for those lucky enough to be able to hop in their campervan this time of year.

While the past two summer seasons have been hectic and challenging for camping enthusiasts of all persuasions it hasn’t all been about the imposition of headroom barriers, parking restrictions and the removal of some popular traditional spots.

Autumn wild camp
Campervan formation
Camping blue skies
Connemara set up
Lahinch waves
The water on the western seaboard is at its warmest in the autumn, by Irish standards a roasting 17 degrees in Lahinch this weekend.

We have also seen the introduction of new services and facilities by some progressive local authorities, in places like Dungarvan and the village of Cashel in Galway. There’s also been some great success stories as new Aires and campsites opened to deservedly positive reviews.

I’m thinking of Sliabh Liag Camping in Donegal, Bannow Bay Seaside Farm Motorhome Park in Wexford and Aire Cuan Eilí near Belmullet have all come away with glowing reviews from campers this summer.

Good news also broke yesterday that Bundoran Campers Holiday Park has sorted out its planning issues with the local authorities and will reopen for touring motorhomes from this Monday, September 13th.

So, campers there’s plenty of time and plenty of places and lots of opportunities remaining to take in some great camping this autumn. Ok, do pack an extra layer, a warm hoodie and the makings of a hot toddy!!

We’re off now to Carlingford… more on that and some other great camping experiences here on over the coming weeks. Safe journey and have a great weekend wherever you park or pitch your second home between now and Halloween.

SEE ALSO: The Apple Farm is well worth the trip to Tipp

                      L is for Lahinch – I love Lahinch

About The Author

John Whelan

John Whelan is a vastly experienced midlands based journalist and editor who has contributed extensively to the country's leading national and regional titles, as well as broadcast outlets. He runs the media services company, Communicate Ireland John is a keen camping and campervan enthusiast with an interest in music, culture, heritage and outdoor pursuits. He has written for the Sunday Times, Sunday Independent and the Woman's Way on these topics. He is also an author, and his latest book, The Last Beekeeper, reflects his love of nature, the landscape and our shared responsibility to protect the environment. The Last Beekeeper is available to preview and purchase at Safe travels...

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