Campervan Hire Ireland
Even before the global pandemic restricted our travel, road tripping became increasingly popular; so, to help you with campervan hire in Ireland this year, here’s everything you need to know!
If you are thinking of travelling around the emerald isle this or any year, then I can tell you absolutely that the best way to go is definitely by campervan hire.
Of course, there are a couple of potential challenges when it comes to renting and driving a campervan (or motorhome/RV). However, in our opinion, the benefits by far outweigh the downsides.
The two Options we recommend looking at are Causeway Campers if you are starting in the North or Spaceships Rentals if you are starting from Dublin. You can hire in Ireland from a minimum of 3 days in a range of Vans from Classic VW Camper to the latest motorhome.
We recommend no less than 14 days if you are planning to see all of Ireland as it’s nearly 2000 miles around the Island.
Why Choose To A Campervan For Your Ireland Trip?
Motorhome hire in Ireland certainly isn’t for everyone; indeed, Mrs TCI isn’t a fan of it for all but the shortest of trips with the kids!
However, from our experience Ireland is one of the best places to go campervanning in the world, it has so much to offer that other forms of travel just can’t compete with. Here are 5 of our favourites
You Get To See More Of Ireland
One of our main issue with travelling around Ireland by buses, coach or trains is that it’s easy to miss out on so many of the adventure moments that happen off the beaten track.
It’s these bits of your holiday in between where you set off from and your destination that forms many of the memorable moments, such as the rolling green hills, epic mountains views, or just getting lost and having to meet the locals on back roads.
I know that Whenever I get on a bus or train, my concentration waynes and I soon started to feel bored, so I find myself staring at my mobile, watching a video, trying to find something to listen to, or trying not to fall asleep. I never really take in what’s outside.
When you have your own vehicle, it’s completely different as, aside from it being illegal to use your device while driving, you are in control and completely engaged with your surroundings.
You Have The Freedom And Flexibility To Choose The Stops
Even better is that you have total control (although it often doesn’t feel that way) over which routes and roads to take. We love to “Brown Sign” when we travel, which is stopping at any Brown Sign (Tourist signs) we see. This is how we have found most of the best spots we’ve been to in Ireland.
Taking the roads less travelled and deep into rural Ireland really is a fantastic experience, as you can stop for as many Insta (of more likely tea) opportunities as you want, without the large crowds of people like at the main rest points.
You Are In Control Of The Itinerary
I personally love travelling where you plan to end up in one place that night, but instead, you decide to go somewhere completely different halfway there.
We’ve found ourselves stopping a few hours short because you find the perfect spot to set up camp, or equally have kept driving because you don’t fancy the place you had planned anymore
You Can Fit More Amazing Things In
One of the best things we find is that you can fit in more activities and see more when you have your own motorhome instead of being on someone else’s strict itinerary like you get with bus, rail or tour companies timetables.
With your own wheels, you get to decide when you get going or stay for a bit longer.
You don’t have to wait around for hours, unless you want to, in city/station/rest stop any longer than you want to, and you don’t have to wait for everyone else to filter back to the coach after stopping for pictures/toilets/food
Campervan Hire Ireland Is Cheaper Overall
Okay, I know you’ve looked at the prices for the high season and thought, wooft, that’s not cheap! However, there is a common misconception that campervan motorhome rental in Ireland is an expensive option.
Well, if you look at your holiday overall, this normally isn’t actually the case!
Of course, if you look at some of the bigger motorhomes and campervans, they can be pretty pricey. However, we found that the costs of Ireland campervan hire were generally equal to, if not mostly lower, than what we would have otherwise spent on a similar tour of Ireland using buses, trains, tours and accommodation….even cheaper than doing it in a hire car.
Can I tell you you are still not convinced? Well, keep reading …
How Much Does Campervan Hire In Ireland Cost?
Full disclaimer, it been 3 years since we last did a full tour (thanks COVID 19!!), so there may be some variations locally in the costs. We have worked out the costs based on Causeway Campers, and Spaceship Rentals quotes taken in March 2021
- Cost of the van for 14 days = £2400 (Causeway Campers)
- Fuel = £20 per day
- Food & Other Groceries = £15 per Day (mostly snacks!) 210
- Eating & drinking out = £25 Per Day (Sod Cooking were on holiday) 375
- Pitching at Campsites = £20 Per night (ave 8 nights)160
Total = £3425 (€3800)
Which comes in at around £120 each per day; I’m sure you will agree it is pretty good for a two week holiday all in.
Especially as here isn’t the cheapest of places to go on holiday.
Just as a comparison, if you chose to get around Ireland with a tour company such as Bennys Irish Vacations, you Will pay from £2700 per person for 12 days, and this doesn’t include food (snacks) and other groceries.
If you decided to stay in a cheap hotel or Airbnb in Ireland, then expect anywhere between €60 and €80 per night, so that’s a huge part of your budget gone before you’ve even got out of bed in the morning (or early afternoon)
Now we’re not trying to say that motorhome hire is always the cheapest, but there is a common misconception that motorhome rental in Ireland will be a lot more expensive than the alternatives like Tours or Self Drive.
When Not To Hire A Campervan?
As we have said before, exploring Ireland in a campervan isn’t for everyone. Here are a few reasons why motorhome hire for a road trip around Ireland might not be for you.
You’re A Solo Traveller
Travelling around Ireland campervan is naturally less sociable than, say, being on a tour bus with lots of other tourists.
So driving around Ireland on your own, you might find the whole experience a bit less enjoyable or lonely……however, if you’ve been locked up with 3 kids, your spouse and a dog, this may sound like bliss.
You Need Your Own Space
There’s no hiding it campervans are not the biggest, and lots of storage space is a luxury.
You’ll be sleeping, driving and cooking all in the same space, so you will have to keep everything organised and tidy as you go.
I know loads of people who wouldn’t like the cramped life of living out of a camper for a couple of weeks, but for us, it’s not a problem.
You Don’t Like Sharing Campsite Facilities.
In Ireland, all of the campsites we’ve ever stayed in were of high quality, and any shared toilets and showers were cleaned regularly. This has been doubled down on with the recent pandemic heightening cleaning procedures.
But some people, especially after the last year, simply don’t like sharing such facilities with people they don’t know.
You’re Not A Confident Driver
Irish roads are very well maintained following years of investment, but the more rural you are, the issue is not quality but width, as they can be quite narrow, especially in a camper.
So, if you’re not overly confident or are a new to campers, then you might find the thought of driving a large van or motorhome more than a little daunting.
There will be times when you will need to manoeuvre carefully, and there will be many streets, particularly in small towns in villages, that you simply won’t fit down.
How Long Should I Rent For?
Well, that there is the million-dollar (or euro) question!
The short answer is … “it depends”.
How long you wish to take on your trip is entirely up to you.
When you are renting a motorhome or camper to tour Ireland, you want to make the best use of your time; it’s your holiday, so it’s a good idea to sort out a rough itinerary ahead of time.
I will say, from our experience, if you want to see the whole of Ireland as we have done, then 14 days is the bare minimum you should allow.
We have always travelled in the summer months from April to September when the days are long, so we had a good 12 to 14 hours of sunlight every day to explore.
A month or more would be even better, as then you can travel and explore inland or visit some of the islands such as Rathlin or Achill
however if you are limited on time or funds, then a 1 or 2 week Ireland holiday will do fine. It just means you’ll need to plan out an action-packed route to follow so you can squeeze in as much as possible.
A Motorhome Hire Trip Of Ireland Itinerary
To help give you an idea of what to expect, here are a few itineraries you could follow that I would recommend:
Our 14 Day Itinerary
We’ve toured an entire loop of Ireland a couple of times, starting just outside from home near Portstewart, on The Causeway Coast, and ending back there.
This included almost all of the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland Ancient East and of Course the Causeway Coastal Route and all of Ireland’s top sites in both the south and north.
Portrush (Causeway Campers) > Derry (1 Night) > Donegal (1 night) > Sligo (1 night) > Mayo (1 Night) > Galway City (1 night) > Cliffs of Moher & Clare (1 Night) > Dingle Penninsula (1 Night) > Ring of Kerry & Skelligs (1 Night) > Cork & Blarney Castle (1 Night) > Kilkenny (1 Night) > Dublin (1 night) > Newgrange & Boyne Valley (1 night) > Belfast (1 night) & The Causeway Coastal Route (1 night)
A Shorter 7 Day Itinerary
For the road trips below, you’ll need to do your research and pick out places of interest for you to see in between; however, each of the towns listed below is a good guide point to stop for the night.
- Dublin > Kilkenny > Blarney > Killarney > Ring of Kerry > Limerick > Dublin
- Belfast > Derry (on the Causeway Coast Route > Donegal > Sligo > Athlone > Dublin > Belfast
What To Look For In A Campervan Rental Firm
When deciding which hire company to go with, here are some essential things to look for.
- Solid reviews – Google Reviews and Facebook reviews are always a good starting point. As well as seeing what other bloggers have said about them by typing in “COMPANY NAME review”.
- Modern vehicles – To save money on fuel and ensure you have a safe trip without breakdowns, it’s best to find a business offering vans that are no more than a few years old. Campervans quickly rack up tens of thousands of kilometres, even in their first year, and any reputable firm will continually reinvest in modern vehicles.
- No added extras – Check the small print on your rental agreement to see what is actually included. Things that aren’t generally included in the initial quotation are things like bedding, cooking equipment and sat nav. Also, some firms might have limits on the number of kilometres per day pr in total you can drive; if you go over this, they will charge you extra.
- Affordable insurance cover – If you want absolute peace of mind when hiring a camper in Ireland, you can pay a set amount for every day of the hire to reduce the excess in case of damages to have £0 excess. You don’t have to get this, but we always feel a lot better having it. For larger campervans and motorhomes, it’s often not possible to entirely remove the excess charge. Also, don’t just take the campervan motorhome hire companies quote; look around on your own. We got a quote there for £126 from questor compared to €35 per day from Spaceship Rentals.
- Breakdown cover – There’s always an outside chance something will go wrong on your travels no matter how good they are, and any decent hire firm should offer full breakdown cover as standard with your hire.
- Their offices are located – Not all of the companies have offices located all across Ireland, though most larger firms are located close to Dublin, many of the smaller ones are outliers, so Just check as you don’t want to find you have to spend a day travelling with all your luggage to pick up the van.
Driving In Ireland: What You Need To Know
Before you excitedly jump into the cockpit of your swanky new van, there are a couple things about driving in Ireland you should know about.
- We drive on the left side of the road here
- There are only a few motorways in Ireland
- The Speed limits are in mph in northern Ireland and Kmph in the South (Ireland)
- Speed limits both north and south are well signposted throughout each county
- The roads can get quite narrow, especially in rural towns and villages. They weren’t designed for campervans, more for horse and carts. So be prepared to turn around.
- You will see a lot of animals on the road, so take it easy
- You cant turn right on a red light- for our American friends
Our Top Tips To Save Money On Your Campervan Holiday
I’m originally from Scotland, and we love penny-pinching (apparently), so here are a few of our top tips for spending less on your vacation.
Go Out Of Season When Prices Are Massively Reduced
Travel out of the high season between June and August, as this is when schools are out, and the weather is meant to be at its best.
We recommend travelling in April or May, statistically, the driest months, if you don’t mind putting up with shorter, colder days (and maybe the odd bit of snow), then you can save 50% or more by booking then. It’s also when the country blossoms with colour.
There’s nothing to say that road is tripping Ireland wouldn’t be equally as unique in Autumn or winter, especially when you can make huge savings on both the cost of the van and any campsites.
Travel With Friends
Most campervans sleep 2 but have seats for 4 or more people, you could find two friends to take with you and then cut the rental cost in half by having them camp in a tent, a 2 or 3-person tent taken with you would be easy to do. You could then take it in turns with where you sleep each night.
Make Good Use Of The Cooking Facilities
Your van will come fully fitted with essential cooking gear such as a stove or even an oven.
We generally use the campervans stove every day for breakfast and the odd cup of tea/coffee. However, you can use it for all meals if you want to save money.
Eating out in Ireland can be expensive (a standard pub meal is roughly €20 – 25pp), so you can save a fair bit of cash by cooking for yourself every night.
That leaves more money for beer and snacks!
Wild Camp Wherever Possible
Our no. 1 tip for saving money when campervanning in Ireland is to wild camp wherever possible.
We tend to wild camp most nights in the campervan, as it’s easy and you can find the most amazing places.
Depending on where you are, you can asleep watching waves crash against cliffs and then enjoy the sunrises over the sea/mountains.
Check out some spots for wild camping in Ireland.