Campervan Overnight Parking Ireland – FREE Campervan Parking

Looking for overnight parking in Ireland for your campervan can be a bit of a stress. For me, there are a lot of factors that come into play. Firstly, I want to feel safe wherever I am parking for the night. Secondly, I want it to be affordable. Many of us want to do van life to travel more affordably, but paying for campsites every night will add up fast. Thirdly, what facilities are available? If I’m parking up for a few days, I want to know that I’ll have a toilet, and ideally a shower nearby. So yeah, Campervan overnight parking in Ireland can be a bit of a tough one, but I’ve worked out some ways to pick the best places.

How to find Overnight Parking in Ireland – What options are there?

Wild Camping – the FREE way to explore in your campervan

For me, wild camping is always the go-to. Wild camping, is parking or camping anywhere that is not a campsite basically. I love this type of overnight camping for a few reasons:

  1. It’s mostly free – so for people like me on a budget and travelling long-term, it’s perfect
  2. It allows you to stay out in nature – waking up at a beach or along some cliffs is always magical
But how do you find free and safe wild camping spots in Ireland with some amenities?

Park 4 Night – app

Where can you park a campervan overnight in Ireland?

I use the Park4Night app. It is a free app that works for Ireland and the UK and it will give you all the parking spots in the location of your choice. What I love about the app is, you can add filters to find the type of place that suits you – do you want toilets, a shower, bbq facilities? Simply pop those filters on your search and it will give you the results you need!

A paid membership will allow you to check out multiple other facilities useful for life – chemical and waste tank emptying facilities, and so much more.

Campervan Overnight Parking Ireland - FREE Campervan Parking

Is Wild Camping allowed in Ireland? Is wild camping legal in Ireland?

Can you sleep anywhere in a campervan in Ireland?

In general, wild camping is not really allowed in Ireland. From a legal standpoint – the majority of land is privately owned, and so it is not allowed to park or stay overnight unless you have sought permission. However, in reality, a lot of people wild camp and it is tolerated in a lot of places. This is also more so regarding wild camping with a tent. People will not feel comfortable if you pop up a tent in the field beside their house. But, parking up on the side of a road for the night isn’t that much of a problem.

Can you wild camp in a campervan in Ireland?

If you are wild camping with your camper. Please be respectful and follow the general code of conduct for campers. Unfortunately campers who show little respect, make it more difficult for the rest of us:

  • Leave no trace – do not leave rubbish behind you (this happens all the time and it ruins our beautiful country. It also ruins the public perception of van lifers
  • Respect nature and wildlife
  • Never disturb the environment
  • Be careful when managing campfires – a lot of places in Ireland have “no campfire” signs
  • If you are on private property – ask for permission (I do this at pubs in the countryside)

There are some places in Ireland where overnight parking in a camper is not allowed. Luckily if you have a smaller more discreet microcamper like me, you might get away with it. But that is never guaranteed. Some examples:

  • In the summer, you are not allowed to park overnight along the Salthill Promenade in Galway, or in Galway city. I have spoken to the guards about this, and I was told that it is not them that police this, but many campers that have been unaware, have woken up to parking fines on their dashboards.
  • A lot of beaches in Ireland will have “no overnight camping” signs in the car parks. This one is really disappointing and can have you driving around for hours at night looking for a suitable place, but again, the Park4Night app is really helpful for this.

Here are some wild camping tips for overnight camping in a camper:

  • If it is somewhere you are unsure of, arrive late at night and leave in the morning
  • Keep noise levels down
  • Try to park away from houses and walking trails (As you might get reported by locals)
  • If you are asked to move on – be polite and leave
  • DO NOT empty your waste water tanks in nature – I have seen this happen so many times and it makes me so angry – you are polluting the area!

Free overnight parking – Campervan overnight parking Ireland

Other forms of free overnight camping are not classed as “wild camping”.  And there is more than you might think.

Carparks

Many car parks are only paid up until  6 or 7pm, meaning you can pull in after hours, park up for free for the night, and leave in the morning before the meter starts again. This is a popular one for urban areas and cities.

Petrol Stations

Big petrol stations (gas stations) in Ireland will have overnight parking facilities, especially for truck and lorry drivers. You’ll typically see this along the motorways. Generally, the Applegreens and the Plazas will have them. The benefits of these free overnight parking spots – particularly at petrol stations are there are regularly 24-hour toilets (sometimes with showers) and the shop is normally open 24/7 too. It’s also comforting to know that someone will be in the shop, meaning it is (hopefully) a safer area to park.

Car parks of businesses – Overnight Parking for Campervan

Multiple times now I have parked overnight for free outside a pub in the countryside. However, whenever I do this I will go inside and ask if I am buying a drink can I park outside for the night. Every time I’ve done this I’ve been given permission (and even told that I don’t need to buy anything to do so – people are nice when you are nice!). But it’s nice to support the business if you are using the car park (and toilets).

This also might work at hotels but I’ve never tried it!

The benefits of Wildcamping in Ireland – Van life

Campsite prices have gone up in recent years. Over the summer I was living out of my van on the west coast of Ireland and campsites came in anywhere from 25-50 euro per night. When you’re doing long-term travel, those campsite fees quickly add up, and a van that is supposed to save you money on accommodation, doesn’t really anymore!

By wild camping, you are able to do long-term travel (or short-term) on a budget. Saving anywhere up to 450 euro in one week that may have gone on campsites.

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Apps for Campervan Overnight Parking Ireland

I pretty much solely use “Park4Night” but there are some others I have heard of too. I don’t know if they are particularly good for parking – I’ve never needed to look anywhere but the App I have, but maybe you could also give these a try:

  • Roadtrippers
  • Parkme
  • Camping Ireland
  • Motorhome Parking Ireland
  • Another option is “Safe Nights Ireland” – for 15 euro membership per year you will get access to over 200 parking spots across the country

Paid Options for Overnight Parking

There are so many camptite options around the coast of Ireland and some in the midlands too. While you will be paying, you will know you are safe, and you will be able to make the most of all the facilities too. When I do stay at a campsite, I very much make the most of the facilities, from washing clothes and dishes, to charging devices and of course, making the most of shower facilities!

For information on showering in a campervan, check out this article.

Paid Car Parks

A few overnight car parks for campervans have popped up around the country.

Conclusion

So there are multiple of options for when it comes to overnight campervan parking in Ireland, and most of them are free. If there is one thing you take from this post, please download Park4Night, it is so great!

Tinyboots

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