Why not go camping in Cork on your next staycation or weekend away? It’s will make a nice change, it’s cheap and it’s rather magical!

Whether you are planning a trip to the seaside or want to escape inland for some ‘me’ time. Cork is the ideal spot to unwind and go camping. Because it’s so vast, it’s very easy to find wild places to bivvy or camp for the night. There are also several campsites dotted around the points of interest and some fabulous glamping options. So, whether you decide on going east or west, there’s something for everyone in our guide to camping in Cork.

Wild Camping

The Wild Camping Code

– Campsites must be at least 400m from a road capable of carrying a vehicle.
– Campsites must be at least 400m from a building.
– Tents must be moved after every second night to allow vegetation to recover.
– Campers must remove all food waste and litter, whether or not it is biodegradable. Buried waste is often exposed by foraging animals or by erosion.
– Soap and toothpaste must be kept at least 30m away from watercourses.
– Dish and utensil washing must be conducted at least 30 metres from water bodies. All waste water should be strained and scattered. In no circumstances should waste water used in washing be poured into lakes, streams or rivers.
– Campers are required to conduct themselves in a quiet manner in an effort to avoid disturbing the local community, wildlife or other visitors.
– Campsites must be kept visually unobtrusive.
– Campsites must be left as found, or better

1. Inchydoney

Camping in Cork
Image: Chris Hill/Tourism Ireland

Inchydoney is a paradise island (attached to the mainland by a causeway) on Ireland’s west coast. Far from the crowds, it is a place where luxury and adventure collide. and where you can spend your days exploring the rugged beauty of West Cork by kayak, bike, or your own two feet. It is a place where people are kind, where the views are jaw-dropping, and where you can escape the humdrum of your everyday life for a little while. Go for a surf with Inchydoney Surf School, the idyllic little surf shack on the edge of the beach. If there are no waves, don your togs and go swim a few strokes on the blue flag beach outside the Inchydoney Lodge and Spa. Or simply walk the length of the gold strand; you’ll often find you have it completely to yourself. If you want more than just a stroll on the beach, there are a number of looped walks around the island. Bikes are also available for hire, so there is no excuse not to get out and explore the Wild Atlantic Way. There are so many places on the island to discreetly spend a night camping.

2. Glengariff

Camping in Cork
Image: Orla O Muiri

Glengarriff is a long way away from everything, but therein lies the beauty of it. The quaint seaside village sits on the wild and rugged Ring of Beara. Set up camp in Glengarriff Forest and spend your days exploring Garnish Island, kayaking on the bay or running trails in the forest. It’s about as rural as it gets.

3. The Beara Way

Camping in Cork
Image: Valerie O’Sullivan/Fáilte Ireland

The Beara Way is one of Ireland’s most underappreciated beauties and is often neglected in favour of the Ring of Kerry next door. There are countless beautiful spots to pitch your tent along the 206km walking route but the coastline offers the most scenic and secluded spots. You can even nip over to Bere Island via ferry and spend the night there. We think it’s the best place to go wild camping in Cork.

4. White Bay

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Finally, a great wild camping spot is White Bay down by Roches Point. It’ll be like having your own private beach. It is set inside Cork Harbour and offers good protection from any easterly condition. There’s plenty of driftwood for a little campfire too, but remember to practice the principles of Leave No Trace when you wild camp here or anywhere else.

Things to Do in Cork: The Complete Guide for the Explorer

Glamping

1. Inch Hideaway, Whitegate

Best Glamping Spots Ireland
Image: Yay Cork

This is your number one eco, sustainable, green and pet-friendly glamping option in Cork and it’s all within walking distance of Inch Beach in Whitegate. The thing we love about this venue, aside from its eco-friendliness, is the range of activities you can get up to in the area.

Outdoors activities are abundant. There are options for surfing, kayaking and bike rental. There are also plenty of opportunities to do some beautiful cliff walks.

Inch Hideaway has four luxury yurts and the ‘Wanderly Wagon’. Each yurt is situated on a raised platform and heated with wood-fired stoves. There is a communal kitchen, a banquet dining area, a wood-fired pizza oven and a campfire pit. It’s all about sharing here.

More info: Inch Hideaway 

2. Ballyvolane House Glamping, Fermoy

Best Glamping Spots Ireland
Image: David McClelland Photography

If you fancy a traditional, fully serviced, experience in the gardens of a Georgian house from 1728 – this is your chance. Guests have the option of staying in either a glamping ark with a proper double bed or in one of the 11 bell tents. The mattresses are stuffed with recycled denim and organic lambswool, and lanterns and tea light chandeliers will add to the cosy atmosphere.

Communal country house dinners are served at night and stress-free breakfasts can be enjoyed in the mornings until noon. This place is meant for long strolls in the surrounding woodlands and beautiful gardens.

More info: Ballyvolane House Glamping

3. Chleire Haven Yurt Holidays, Cape Clear Island

Camping in Cork
Image: Chleire Haven

Some eight miles off the coast of West Cork is the beautiful haven of Cape Clear Island. We promise you a fantasticlamping experience on Ireland’s most southerly, Irish speaking inhabited island. Just take a 45-minute ferry trip from Baltimore and embrace seclusion and nature at its best.

More info: Chleire Haven

7 of the Most Stunning Islands in Cork

Campsites & Caravan Parks

1. Sextons Caravan & Camping Park, Clonakilty

Camping in Cork
Image: Sextons Caravan Park

For a stress-free and cheap camping experience for all the family, you can’t go wrong with a stay at Sexton’s award-winning family caravan and camping park. They are 50 years in business for a reason. Situated slap bang on the Wild Atlantic Way, it is a warm and welcoming spot, and is ideally located near outstanding beaches, Clonakilty town, Timoleague and Courtmacsherry. Plus there is free WiFi and breakfast available.

More info: Sextons Camping

2. Blarney Caravan and Camping Park, Blarney

Camping in Cork
Image: Blarney Caravan Park

Just outside Cork city is the four-star family-run park Blarney Caravan Park. There is plenty of open space for ball games, plus an 18-hole pitch and putt course. It’s a great place to park up your camper for a few nights to explore Cork city and its surroundings.

More info: Blarney Caravan Park

3. Eagle Point, Bantry

Camping in Cork
Image: Eagle Point Camping

For some serenity and blissful countryside, head to Eagle Point and wake up to the sound of the sea, birdsong and stillness. Each plot has a six-amp electric hook-up and all are located near amenities. Their camping pitches are The Horseshoe Cove, Flor’s Cove and the Potato field and for those who really want to get away from it all, you will find a spot “West the Point” and in “Butterfly Bay”.

More info: Eagle Point

4. The Hideaway Camping & Caravan Park, Skibbereen

Off out in Skibbereen is The Hideaway, where tents, caravans and motorhomes are all catered for. There is a specially designated area for ball games and a great playground. The location is just a stone’s throw away from the quaint market town of Skibbereen, where visitors can shop, dine and relax in the many pubs. There are also options for golfing, sea angling, coarse fishing, scenic walks, scuba diving, moonlight kayaking and whale watching.

More info: Camping Ireland

If you have any camping mishaps while in Cork or forget some of your gear, head to Wild Side Sports store based in Bandon. Pop in to say hi, they would be more than happy to help!

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By Orla O'Muiri

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  1. Caitriona Murphy
    July 17, 2020

    I’d leave White Bay off this list. We tried it out last night as it was close to us and we have a 6 yr old first time camper with us. There was no where to pitch our tent and there is rubbish everywhere. It’s a busy strand with obvious frequent parties. There are small dunes but they are covered in campfires and glass and a bad smell. There is a field, blocked with electric and barbed wire fencing, farmer does not want you there! There is a cliff top but its covered in hogweed and it’s hard to get to safely.

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