A rolling landscape of green hills and rugged bays, there are few better places to go camping than Cork. Offering a range of options to suit all sorts of campers – from affordable and eco-friendly to luxury glamping – whatever you’re into, you’ll find your ideal rural retreat in the West of Ireland.
The beauty of Cork is its remoteness, but it’s also very accessible – fast highways link the urban hubs of Dublin and Cork, making it ideal for campervans. As you’d expect, the campsites vary in their cost, location and quality. Some budget campsites are ideal for family holidays, while some glamping spots are conveniently located by the sea. Here’s our essential guide to the best places for camping near Cork.
Located on Ireland’s West Coast, Inchydoney offers ultimate seclusion, with wild beaches largely free from the throngs of tourists. A hotspot for surfing and watersports, the pounding surf can grow strong here, so be careful of the tide. That said, it’s usually a lovely place to swim and paddle, and if you’re feeling adventurous, you could always set up a small camp near the beach. Nearby, the Sexton’s family-run campsite claims a tradition of 50 years in hospitality, situated at the start of the Wild Atlantic Way, just 25 minutes from Kinsale.
Situated nearby Glengarriff Harbour under the shelter of the gorgeous Caha Mountains, Glengarriff Caravan and Camping Park is a pretty three-star campsite located 2km (1.2mi) from the lovely village of Glengarriff. This is the ideal base for exploring the breathtakingly beautiful Beara and Mizen peninsulas, the Ring of Kerry and the Wild Atlantic Way. The on-site lounge bar hosts regular traditional live music nights, and visitors are encouraged to get involved.
Expect a warm welcome at the Desert House, a campsite and dairy farm run by the Jennings family located off the Wild Atlantic Way. Surrounded by bucolic scenery, the campsite is only ten minutes from Clonakilty, a vibrant, characterful seaside town. The Blue Flag beach at Inchydoney Island, located a few miles from Clonakilty, is one of the nicest in the region – providing a further inducement to stay here.
One for active campers, the Beara Way is a 206km (128mi) long-distance trail that takes up to nine days to hike. Passing by the Ring of Kerry, this is one of Ireland’s most under-appreciated rural treasures. Along the 300km (186mi) stretch of coastline, there are plenty of opportunities to set up camp – from wild camping in secluded boreens to private campsites; the Creveen Lodge Caravan and Camping Park is a local favourite.
If you consider yourself more of a glamper than a camper, Cape Clear Island, located in the far west of Cork, is the ideal spot. Composed of luxury yurts with expansive sea views, it’s one of the most unique camping experiences in the county. This Gaelic-speaking island is as rural as it gets. Hop on the 45-minute ferry from Baltimore to enjoy unparalleled seclusion.
An equally worthy candidate for the best luxury glamping experience, this upscale resort is comprised of Mongolian yurts, built on a hillside promontory overlooking the sea. The campsite offers a covered chalet with a wood burner, which also heats the water for your open-air shower, which faces the sea. The dazzling sunsets here are unmatched, and it’s located within walking distance of the cute village of Kinsale.