Camping with the Kiddos …

So a couple if weeks back we as a family had our camping debut , up to that I had camped twice ever.

The first time I was a complete dodo and myself and my partner in crime went on the lash before “pitching” our tent, not good. I use the term pitching lightly as I’ve no recollection of doing so ! All I know is I woke up in a upright tent but absolutely soaked with a bottle of vodka and an empty purse by my side …

Fast forward ten + years and sense was on my side I had a trial run with a camping expert without the kids , she showed me how to pitch perfect and we made our beds – marvellous…probably as much drink as the first time round meant I slept like a tired mammy and thought this camping life was the bomb .

Our debut trip brought us to Barleycove , after driving for hours ( I stupidly made an appointment for the morning in the opposite corner of cork) I must admit I was tired and slightly hot n’ bothered by the time I got to Barley cove Holiday Park so when it started lashing as I was pitching ( about the same time I’d realised putting up a tent is a doddle with two adults , not so much solo) I must admit I was questioning my sanity. Just as I was finishing Mr Mmmm’s friend appeared and I followed him and his gang to their caravan on the promise of a cuppa !

Thankfully Mr Mmmm arrived after work and it dried up about 9pm that night. A group sleepover , delicious chips from the on site chipper and a few cans of cider meant all was well in the camp literally ! After a success full night we awoke to a fab sunny day and for the first time ever I felt sorry for Mr. Mmmm as he headed off to work and we gobbled breaky with plans to head to the beach after a stint in the on site playground.

If you haven’t been to the beach in Barleycove you are seriously missing out , this is the nicest beach I’ve ever set foot on ( Australian sand included ) a devine blue flag beach with a peaceful vibe, if you’ve not been put it on the list. As for Barelycove holiday Park it was great lovely facilities , a well stocked shop and that fab chipper allready mentioned. I would highly recommend this well run site as I felt very safe and happy there and even alone I’d be happy to return.

After a delightful first camping trip we headed home with happy hearts promising the kids that we would do it all again soon and Tuesday gone we did just that !

A friend of mine was in Dingle so we travelled the distance to the campsite she had a arranged Campail Teach An Aragail which is 10k from the town with a pub and beach just 1k from the site. This site was more basic but had clean showers/toilets and washers/dryers  along with a relaxed atmosphere and little playground and great value at just e21 for the 3 of us ( myself and 2 kids ).

Now I don’t know what god has it in for me but it lashed again and I was saturated and stressed after sorting the tent , beds were made all of us changed into dry clothes at 2pm we took to the tea and chocolate and cosied up for the afternoon in the tent with the rain drumming on the canvas ! Strangely I was very relaxed and dare I say I enjoyed the avo as the two were happy to cuddle, read and colour I think I may be still in a state of shock at this !

Alas, like all good things this too had to come to an end ( to be fair they passed 3+hrs in a tent without complaint ) and the bickering started so we got dressed and went into dingle for grub and a shnaky one ;-).


Oh what a night !!! After heading back to tent after tea we had the kids watching a movie on the iPad in one while we had tea and beer in the other but by 10.30 I was fit for bed so we settled down to head to sleep …  Little did I know I was only to get but a few hours sleep as  I’m fully convinced we got the end of a storm from somewhere.

The wind was fierce and the rain the same Little L and I in one bedroom and J in his own , L is hilarious she would and literally would sleep through anything !!! Bout 3am myself wide awake just waiting for the tent to lift but hoping my big bod and cooler box would keep us grounded and as expected J awoke so there was 3 in the bed …. At this point I was bursting for a wee but genuinely felt if I left the tent to go aside from getting soaked I may come back to nothing after my children and tent taking flight wizard of oz style … They say necessity is the mother of invention well mother nature is certainly the grand mother then … I won’t even go into how I solved my problem ;-). Finally at about 4.30 it died down enough for me to sleep ! After a wild night it was clear that I am infact good it seems at pitching tents as there had been a few catastrophes during the night and flattened tents were abandoned by a few families fleeing to the car !

The following morning was nice but with a bag of wet clothes and down to our last knickers we decided to give the beach a miss ! We opted for a walk around Killarney, lunch in the Danny Mann ( see review here ) and a trip to Grandpa Charlie’s Olde sweet shop .

* t-shirt in the Portwest shop was very apt !*

The kids really enjoyed the trip despite the weather and I did too 🙂 , there is just something good for the soul about camping ! And well definitely be doing a lot more of it.

So now I’ve had two camping trips with pre-schoolers under my belt what have I learnt ?

  • When packing up at home make sure the tent is the last thing you put in the boot as it’s the first thing you’ll need to get your hands on when you arrive , obvious you say.. well not to me it seems !
  • Pitching a tent is pretty easy with two pairs of hands but not at all that easy with one adult and an uncooperative 4yr old ! Make sure your fairly confident or bring a hip flask if pitching solo !
  • Ensure you have enough socks to sort a centipede , you can manage without most things but socks are not one of them. Bring plenty of towels, clothes and a roll of  plastic bags too.
  • Let the kiddos fill a bag of toys and if not allready in add story books and colouring books/crayons as these will be invaluable to you if it rains and let’s face it if you are camping in Ireland the chance is high !
  • For an overnighter or a taster trip you don’t need a lot of equipment , once you have a suitable tent you can survive from a cooler box and a flask . If you want a little extra I’d advise a gas cooker and a commode to be put top of the list, other than that the other things I deam handy are battery operated lights, a table and chairs and blow up beds.
  • To minimise blankets needed with smallies we get kitted out in our winter jammies and all are happy !
  • Apparently it doesn’t matter what percentage fat you have covering your bones sleeping without a blow up bed is no joke and not for me ! The blow up bed will defiantly be rooted out for our next trip.
  • The camping part is what the kids love so just let them chill in and around your pitch don’t get hung up on activities.
  • Even in the rain camping is fun just go for it !

Have you you any camping hacks or handy hints , I’d love to hear them

Xoxo L.



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