"All pitched up at Wavecrest"
Campsite number three on our “Irish Adventure” is Wavecrest, Caherdaniel which is on the Ring of Kerry. This is the Campsite I have most been looking forward to, partly because I have to drive some of the Ring of Kerry to get to it, partly because it is where I can get a rib boat trip to see some whales, dolphins and other marine life and partly because it is possible to fish on site, and I am desperate to cast a line before I return back to England.
The drive from Doolin to Wavecrest Campsite went very smoothly, and was much easier than I was expecting. It was a long journey, but the scenery along the way was absolutely stunning and it well worth it. If you want to read a detailed account of my journey to Wavecrest Campsite please feel free to
After a few wet and miserable days it was nice to see the sun break through the clouds and the skies turn blue again. We have been fortunate with our travelling days in that they have all been nice and sunny, but most importantly dry. As we pulled out of Doolin earlier in the day it looked like the drive over was going to be a wet one but it soon cleared up so happy days!
First impressions of Wavecrest Campsite are positive. There is a well-stocked shop, café, deli and fishing supplies shop near the entrance so we won’t need to go out and find any food/drink which is good. The way the pitches are laid out is a little haphazard, which is cool. The toilet/shower block is nice and clean although there doesn’t seem to be that many toilets/showers for the number of pitches. This shouldn’t create too many problems though. The pitches aren’t the biggest and once your unit is on them there is no room for anything else. The views from the site are absolutely stunning and breathtakingly beautiful. All in all I have to say I am very impressed.
With the boat trips sorted, as much as it could be, it was time to take a tour around the site’s coastline and find a suitable fishing spot. Getting to the water is much easier at Wavecrest than it was at Doolin, and after a bit of rock hopping I found what looked to be the ideal spot. The expedition to find a suitable fishing spot was, un-beknown to us at the time, carried out at high tide which presented another question. “What would the coastline be like at low tide and would it still be possible to fish from the identified spot? There was only one thing I could do, and that was wait for low tide and then go on another recce. Low tide wasn’t going to be anytime soon, in fact it was going to be mid-morning the following day so there was Little I could do until then.
The first night at Wavecrest Campsite was windy, and the van rocked around a bit, but it was not half as bad as the previous three nights at Nagles Campsite in Doolin. Even though we are higher up and closer to the sea at Wavecrest Campsite there is more shelter from the wind, so it didn’t affect us that much.
The first day at Wavecrest was a dry one, however there was no way I was going anywhere until I had heard from Mr O’Shea regarding a rib boat trip. Getting a boat trip was priority number one for me. The call came around 11.00 am, and with no boat trip for the day confirmed (and a promise of a call back the next day) the decision was made to take a walk from Wavecrest Campsite and head to Derrynane National Park via Caherdaniel and Derrynane Bay. I am not a serious walker so we devised an easy circular walking route (using some of the brochures and literature from reception) to take in some of the sights and points of interest. The walk took us to the Oghman Stone (although we couldn’t see any sign of the ancient alphabet), to Derrynane House (which is not as impressive as I thought it was going to be), through Derrynane Bay (which is absolutely stunning), up to some fort (little more than a pile of rocks on the ground), past the Blind Piper Pub (a horrible pub that is a complete rip off) and up the N70 Ring of Kerry back to Wavecrest Campsite. The whole walk took around three hours but there were loads of stops for photos and a ten minutes pit stop at the pub to wet the whistle.
If you want to read about our walk from Wavecrest to Derrnane you can do so here. If you just want to see some of the wonderful sites of the area take a look at the following slide show, courtesy of Youtube.
The rest of the day was spent chilling out, looking out to sea (my wife was adamant she was going to see a whale tail striking the water’s surface – although the only place we were likely to see this (if at all) was on a rib boat trip), trying to identify the various birds and soaking up the awesome scenery. Unfortunately, we missed the low tide so the fishing recce had to wait for another time. One thing I did see was another resident fishing off the pontoon, which I was specifically told to stay off of when I asked reception if it was okay to cast a line off the pontoon. Hmmmm……. The phrase of “One rule for one and all that” springs to mind! I have to say the rugged shoreline of the West Coast of Ireland is something else, and I can see why many tourists come back year after year.
The second night was stiller and more peaceful than the first however we woke to mist, fog and poor visibility. Once again, I didn’t want to do anything until I had heard from Mr O’Shea about the boat trip.
The better half was keen to head on over to some fort (a 14 mile round trip) which obviously required the Brompton bikes. I wasn’t too keen on the fort (I didn’t fancy the 4km hill climb up to it) and we agreed the better half would go alone and I would wait for the call. There was an issue in that if the call came and the boat trip was before she got back what we would do, but we thought it best to deal with this if it happened.
As the day went on I was getting more and more concerned about the boat trip, and Mr O’Shea had not called with an update. I have to admit that I thought this wasn’t very fair, since he knew we the rest of the day and tomorrow before we had to move on and he knew if there was going to be a trip or not, yet he was keeping me in the dark. If there weren’t going to be a trip I wish he would just be honest and say so, it would at least give me the chance to phone around and see if I can find an alternative. As the day went on I got more and more riled, although I had been assured by Mr O’Shea he would call and all I could do was trust him.
The day came, went and turned in to evening. Since I had still not heard from Mr O’Shea I assumed there was no boat trip (although I wish he had the common decency and courtesy to tell me himself) so I went to reception and asked if there were any alternative boat trips. The lady behind reception was fully aware of what was going on, turned funny and snapped “Take a look through the brochures and see what you can find”. Okay, I appreciate Skellig Boat Tours and Wavecrest Campsite are affiliated and they help each other generate income but this reaction was rude, unprofessional and totally uncalled for. I gave Mr O’Shea as much time as I could – we went to book a boat tour as soon as we arrived and I was willing to accept any boat tour. If he couldn’t provide one, that’s not my problem but I should have been told as soon as he was aware so we didn’t waste our holiday time waiting around for a call that never came. This is not how I do business back home, this is not how I treat my customers and I don’t expect to be treated (i.e. kept in the dark like a mushroom) either. The whole affair was a real disappointment and it left a bitter taste in the mouth. It’s such a shame because Wavecrest Campsite is fantastic, but the way the receptionist suddenly turned during this episode has kind of put me off returning here when I next come to Ireland for a holiday, which I can tell you won’t be long at all.
Whilst waiting for Mr O’Shea’s call (that never came) I managed to catch the low tide and do a recce on the fishing spot I found. As I made my way around the rocky shoreline to the spot I was stunned to see the rock I had sat on at high water, with my toes in the water was now about seven feet above the water line. Despite this there was still a good depth of water, there were no huge rocks I could get snagged on to worry about and I had some idea of the depth of water I would be fishing in. Now I had an idea of what was going on I could make a definite plan to fish the spot as the tide was coming in right up to high water and probably a couple of hours the other side too.
I was hoping that the third, and last full day at Wavecrest was going to be spent on a rib boat trip, however Mr O’Shea failed to call and provide any update and it was now too late to try and find and alternative the boat trip was no a confirmed non-goer. I was disappointed but I was more angry about being gullible and stupid enough to put our trust in Mr O’Shea and Skellig Boat Tours. I won’t be making that mistake again, and I will warn others of my experience so they don’t get burnt like I did.
The weather was a bit dull and misty, but at least it was dry so that’s something I guess. Before I came to Ireland I was told by many people the charm of this country is the changeable weather. Hmmmm…….. If weather that is misty one second, heaving down with rain the next and then bright and sunny the next is their idea of “charm” they are welcome to it. I don’t find it charming at all, and having to go out with a rain jacket, warm jumper, sun cream and hat all the time is a right faff. I digress……
Other than a boat trip we had done everything that was on the ‘tick list’ however there was another point of interest, as pointed out by the lady on reception that may be worth a look – Lambs Head. Lambs Head even has its own sign post on the N70 Ring of Kerry, where there is “rock fishing. Dog fish, wrasse and conger eel”. Being a keen angler Lambs Head seemed a suitable place to go so that’s where we headed.
Getting to Lambs Head involves walking along the N70 Ring of Kerry towards Caherdaniel, taking a left at the “Rock fishing……..” sign above and following the road all the way to the end, which is labelled as a pier, although I would refer to it as a very small harbour.
The walk to Lambs Head is an easy one and there aren’t many ups and downs, but it is quite a distance. The scenery to Lambs Head is, as with all of this area, is absolutely stunning and along the way you can see the sandy shores of Derrynane Bay and some rugged, rocky coastline too. Once past the caravan park the road becomes deserted, other than the grazing sheep and it remained like that all the way to the pier/harbor. If you’re interested you can see my “Walk to Lambs Head” photo gallery here. The entire walk was about two and a half hours, however it did include lots of stops for photos and ten minutes or so at the pier itself.
For a taster of some of the sights and scenery on the way to Lambs Head take a look at the following slide show, courtesy of Youtube.
After the walk I finally got to cast a line in the Atlantic Ocean and do a spot of rock fishing. I have never been rock fishing before and where I come from there are no opportunities to do this, so I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing. I obviously did a bit of research before leaving home, although I couldn’t find an “idiot’s guide”. One of the biggest issues was I only had rubber lures for bait, and not anything natural so I wasn’t too sure if these fake rubber baits even caught fish.
I had a few casts and managed to get a bite. The fish wasn’t huge (maybe 50cm or so) and I managed to get it all the way to the rocks and just as I lifted it out of the water the damn thing came off the hook. To say I was gutted was an understatement, and whilst the other half kept saying it was a catch there is no way I could count it as one. I don’t even know what species of fish it was – all I could see is that it was brown. Maybe it was a wrasse? Maybe it was a Pollock? I’ll never know. I had few more casts before I got a massive bird’s nest tangle. I couldn’t be bothered to sort it out on the rock so I cut my losses, collected it all up, chucked it in my tackle bag and called it a day. It wasn’t the most successful fishing trip ever, but at least I can now say I have been rock fishing in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Ireland.
After a reasonably quiet night the time had come for us to leave Wavecrest campsite and move on to our next one. I had managed to put the whole Skellig Boat Tours scenario behind me, as Mr O’Shea still hadn’t called when just as we were about to head down to the toilet block to empty the tanks he arrived in his rib boat and moored against the pontoon. Talk about rub salt in the wounds – I decided then the bloke is an unreliable waste of time, and if he didn’t want my money that’s his look out. The stupid thing is I offered to charter the boat for just me and the wife. It would have cost 350 Euro but I was prepared to do if that is what I needed to do to get a whale and dolphin trip. The thing is Mr O’Shea didn’t even give us the chance – IS that good business sense or what?
Seeing the rib boat moor up did affect me, I won’t lie and it left a bitter taste in my mouth and a negative on what otherwise was a great few days. Oh well, onwards and upwards to the next site, which was meant to be Garrettstown, Kinsale but is now going to be Dunmore East Holiday Park, Dunmore East.
About the author
A total motor home newbie with a six year camping background in a folding camper. A keen blogger sharing my experience of researching, choosing, buying and owning a motor home. and every thing that goes with it.
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