Vanlife in Ireland?!
We've loved cruising around the United States in our van for the last year and half. The landscapes, culture, and geographical diversity are so immense and we continually find ourselves in awe at the places we end up. Although, we've never taken our van to other countries, we're always dreaming and planning of where we want to take the van next.
Last March, Always The Road showed how to do a self-evaluation to help you understand if van life is for you. Among the greatest rewards of this lifestyle is the chance to explore some of the most beautiful places on the planet, and Ireland is one of those destinations. The climate is great (although a little unpredictable), the rural countryside is breathtaking, and most locals are nice and hospitable. So, let's take a closer look at why Ireland is great for traveling around in a van.
The average temperature in the country is 50°F, which is great for road trips. The main reason behind this is a warm ocean current known as the North Atlantic Drift. It keeps sea temperatures around the island from getting too cold. The result is a mild climate that's just right for traveling.
The Wild Atlantic Way
Travel writer James Hendicott describes The Wild Atlantic Way as a sterling example of the Irish countryside. It runs along the entire Irish Atlantic coast and stretches 1,700 miles. You will enjoy countless views of idyllic shores and majestic cliffs. You can drive straight through and soak up the sights or take stops to check out adventure parks and hiking trails along the way.
The Causeway Coastal Route
Here’s another coastal drive that's unforgettable. Starting from Belfast, drive along the Northeast coast through Larne and Ballycastle then make your way to Coleraine. You will see attractions such as the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge; the Giant's Causeway, a very odd but famous array of basalt columns; and the ruins of Dunluce Castle. After that, go in the direction of Derry/Londonderry.
For the Irish, being accommodating is an inherent part of their culture that dates back centuries. Vagabondish reports that in ancient times, there was a law that required everyone in the island to help strangers looking for shelter. Although the mandate is long gone, the practice of hospitality remained. If you meet locals on your trip, they’ll be more than happy to advise you on anything you need or have a drink with you – provided that you ask politely, of course.
You just can’t go driving around Ireland without learning about their folklore. In some parts of the country, mythical creatures are actually acknowledged and you have to pay respects before you pass. The Irish have lots of stories about mythical beings including fairies, banshees, changelings, and the most famous of all, leprechauns. Tales of the little men clad in green have captivated the Irish for centuries, and these legends have even spilled over to international audiences. It's gotten to the point where they're seen as indelible parts of pop culture. Leprechauns have appeared in movies, television shows, on cereal boxes, and often appear in video games. CheekyBingo features many Irish themed slot games including Irish Luck and Rainbow Riches. The little fellows are a central part of the games, as they've become synonymous with the Irish. To learn more about their local legends, Liberty Voice suggests driving to the National Leprechaun Museum. It provides an entertaining and enlightening experience about these characters and the rest of their brethren.
Dropping by at least one pub while in Ireland is a must even if you aren’t going to have a pint. They’re generally cozy and most will offer wholesome meals. Most pubs showcase live music and the locals make for great company. Outsider recommends checking out remote pubs such as The Blackbird, Jolly Roger, Jim O’ The Mills and Teddy O’ Sullivan’s Bar.
The Dingle Peninsula
If there’s one town you should absolutely visit, it’s Dingle in County Kerry. It's the only town on the Dingle Peninsula. Dingle is characterized by curiosities like a resident dolphin that swims in the harbor, pubs that serve as hardware stores, and locally made salty ice cream. It’s a great way to cap off your road trip.