Camping is a challenging and rewarding experience that truly lets you experience the outdoors. Here at Leave No Trace, we want people to get the most out of their camping experience and to have as little impact on the environment as possible.
Over 80% of land in Ireland is privately owned. In fact, 100% of the land is owned either privately or by state organisations. Unlike other countries like the UK or Norway, there is no provision for free access to land for recreation. That means that access to land in Ireland is entirely at the goodwill of the landowner. This makes the issue of camping or wild camping a contentious one. The past goodwill of landowners has been put under strain by irresponsible behaviours that have damaged the landowner’s property.
Plan Ahead and Prepare
The most important aspect of camping is in the preparation. Leave No Trace advocate that you get permission before you go camping in Ireland. If on private land, this can mean going to speak with the landowner. In addition, there are many designated camping sites across Ireland.
The purpose of this page is to provide you with a foundation that you can plan ahead and prepare for your next camping trip. This page will outline the means of gathering more information to make responsible decisions in the outdoors when planning your next camping adventure.
Read more about how to plan ahead in our skills and ethics booklet here.
Paid Camping Sites in Ireland
Check out the website PitchUp for a list of paid camping sites in Ireland. Here are some examples to get you started.
- Rock Farm Slane
- Clifden Eco Campsite
- Creveen Lodge Caravan and Camping Park (Kerry)
- Cong Camping Caravan and Glamping Park (Mayo)
- Breacan Campsite (Galway)
- Allen Centre (Leitrim)
- Inch Beach Camping (Kerry)
- Fort Apache Luxury Caravan and Glamping Tents (Donegal)
- Aille River Hostel and Camping (Clare)
- Derrybawn Mountain Ecolabs (Wicklow)
- Adare Camping and Caravan Park (Limerick)
Blueways and Greenways
There are some excellent places to stay on or near our country’s Blueways and Greenways. You can find more information on their websites:
Camping on Public Lands
The term public can be misleading. All land in Ireland is owned, and permission must be acquired before you head on your camping trip. This section will outline the most pertinent information for each state body and demonstrate where to find out more.
Coillte is dedicated to allowing responsible recreation in their sites. Regarding wild camping, you can find information here. Several wild camping sites are being developed on Coillte lands; you can find more information here. These sites are located at:
- Slieve Blooms
- Glenbeigh/Iveragh Penninsula
- North Mayo
Coillte advocate that Leave No Trace Practices are followed at all sites. In addition, Coillte has provided a recreation map on their website.
Camping in a national park or a nature reserve can be a little confusing at first glance. Each location will have different policies in place regarding camping. This is due to the variety of habitat that each location contains. It is a good policy to check whatever location you wish to visit and not assume the same policy applies to all locations.
A list of National Parks and Nature Reserves can be found here. Information on camping at each National Park in Ireland can be found by following the links below:
- Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park
- Connemara National Park
- Glenveagh National Park
- Killarney National Park – Note no camping or campfires are permitted in Killarney National Park
- Wicklow Mountains National Park
- Burren National Park (email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information)
What to Do if You Do Not Know
If you cannot find the information you need here. Our advice is to contact each organisation directly to ask. Building a relationship will enhance the experience and mitigate the chances of conflict on your adventure.
If you cannot get permission for a site, please go to a different location where you can camp with permission.
Always do your research and check if a campsite has the facilities for waste removal. You can find information about some campsites that have the facilities here. Always take the time to know before you go.
Happy camping from all of us here at Leave No Trace Ireland, and remember #LoveThisPlace, #LeaveNoTrace.