We travelled 7 days with our Land Rover Defender through the land of shamrocks and leprechauns. This was in August 2022. In total we covered around 1500 km. We started in Dublin and crossed over to the west and followed the Wild Atlantic Way up north.

We had been planning this trip for a while. But there are a few factors that made us doubt if we should go. But when we came back from our Corsica trip we were on such a high and more experienced with the defender and over landing in general that we thought ok let’s go! 

This is Lewie and the Rover destination: IRELAND 

our itinerary

Day 1 Haarlem – Folkstone

Day 2 Folkstone – Snowdonia

Day 3 Snowdonia

Day 4 Snowdonia – Dublin

Day 5 Wicklow Mountains

Day 6 Dublin – Cliffs of Moher – Connemara

Day 7 Connemara – Slieve League

Day 8 Slieve League – Meenaleck

Day 9 Meenaleck – Tranarossan bay

Day 10 Tranarossan bay – Lucan

Day 11 Lucan – Battle

Day 12 Battle – Haarlem

Some Inspiration


Haarlem – Folkestone

On a sunny Thursday afternoon we got back from work and packed the last bits and pieces for our trip. We drove around 5 hours to Calais in France. It was a relaxing trip, we hardly had any delays. 

When we got to the eurotunnel everything went very smooth. We first had to go to the pet check-in desk with Lewie. We wrote a blog post about bringing your pet to the uk via the euro tunnel what to expect and how to prepare. Check it here. 

We booked a specific time for the train and left home with quite some spare time. But as everything went so fast we were almost 2 hours early. This wasn’t a problem at all. When you drive though the gates you can check yourself in at one of the machines and it asked us if we wanted to get on an earlier train. We selected the next one leaving. Then we had to show our passports to the French to check out and a few meters further to the British to check in and then we were on our way to the train. We boarded the train and got to England in no time. We didn’t even hear Lewie. He was just chilling in his travel crate. 

One thing that we were a bit nervous about was driving on the left. But as soon as we got out of folkstone we noticed it is not as hard as it seems. We only had to drive around 30 minutes to get to the place where we spent the night. It was a beautiful estate called Bilsington Priory. The lady of the house was very friendly and showed us around. There is lots of land around the estate and we could set up camp anywhere we wanted. The great thing about our stay was that Lewie had lots of space to run around. The weather was great, the air felt warm and we had an amazing sunset. It didn’t feel like we were in England at all, what a way to start our trip!

The next morning Lewie woke up at the crack of dawn. Patrick went out and played with him in the fields. We then packed up our camp and walked around a bit before getting on the road. We had quite the journey ahead of us. We were driving from folkstone, England to Snowdonia in Wales. 

It supposed to take us around 5 to 6 hours but there was so much traffic it took us almost double the amount of time. After getting past London we were in need of a break. We found a farm somewhere between London and Birmingham and decided to stop there. It was a nice break and we had lunch and tea with scones. 

Then we continued our journey and were stuck in traffic again. We arrived at the campsite in Snowdonia around 1900. The weather was good. We set up our camp and relaxed on our front runner camping chairs. They are the best by the way. So compact and also comfortable to sit on. We made a plan for the next day, had some dinner and went to bed.


Folkstone – Snowdonia




– Devil’s kitchen hike

– Betws y Coed village

– Black rock sands beach

We set our alarms for 5 am. When preparing for our trip we were investigating several hikes. Our initial plan was to hike mount snowdon via the miners path. It looks amazing. There is a parking lot but you have to reserve in advance and when we checked it was already full (this was one week in advance). So we searched for another hike and found one: Y Garn via Devil’s Kitchen. As it was Saturday it can get quite busy so that’s why we wanted to go as early as possible. Although it was raining most of the time, the hike was amazing. We wrote a separate post on this hike as it was quite an adventure especially when doing this with a dog. You can check it out here. 

After our hike we met Orla’s family in a cute town called Betws Y Coed. It’s a small town and has a nice atmosphere. There are lots of outdoor shops and stores with local products. We had pizzas for lunch at Hangin. They were very tasty and just what we needed after our hike. After lunch we walked around a bit. This town is very dog friendly there are lots of people with dogs and you can bring your dog into the shops. They also have loads of water bowls outside for dogs.

We then went to black rock sands beach. This is a special beach where you can drive your car onto the sand. We were very excited to drive the defender on that beach. It’s quite the experience. The weather was not so nice there was a lot of wind and started to rain so we drove around a bit and then went back. We stayed the night at Orla’s aunt and uncle in the north of wales. Had a lovely time with the family. They have two dogs and Lewie tried to make friends with them but didn’t succeed. They accepted him but he couldn’t get them to play with him was very funny to watch him try. 

After a good night sleep we had a really nice breakfast. We then all went for a nice long walk on the beach with the dogs. Our priority was to get Lewie tired because this was the day we took the ferry. After our walk we went back to the house and had fish and chips for lunch. It was Patrick’s first real fish and chips and he loved it. After lunch we packed our stuff and got ready to drive to holyhead port. 

We also wrote a separate post about the ferry journey and how to do it with a dog. It’s quite stressful for dog owners when you don’t know what to expect. We couldn’t find much information about it so we hope to help others out with this information. 

We arrived in sunny Dublin around 1900. Welcome to Ireland. 

We had dinner at Orla’s family who live just outside of Dublin. We stayed at their house as we couldn’t find any nice campsites in the area. 


Snowdonia – Dublin


– Ferry to Ireland


Wicklow Mountains


– Djouce mountain

– Sally Gap

– Carton House

It was a sunny morning and made our way to the Wicklow mountains. We parked our car at crone woods car park. This is a free car park and a lot of trails start here. When we arrived there were only a couple of other cars. It was a bank holiday so we came early anticipating it could get busy. We set off towards Djouce mountain. It was a very nice hike and lots of change of scenery. Dogs are welcome but must be on the leash. There is a river crossing (by bridge) which was great for Lewie to go in as he loves the water. The hike is 14km in total (out and back) and took us 3,5 hours. 

Sally gap

After our hike we drove further into the Wicklow mountains. The scenery is so beautiful. We drove through sally gap and took some amazing drone shots. If you are interested you can check out our YouTube video to see the footage. 

In the afternoon we met Orla’s family for coffee at Carton House. It’s a beautiful hotel very classy. Lewie was not allowed inside so we sat outside on comfy benches under parasols. It was lovely catching up and spending time with family. 

The weather forecast was not great for where we were heading the next couple of days; lot and lots of rain and even flood warnings. We stocked up on groceries on the way back and decided to spend one more night in the house.

After a good night sleep we decided to continue our plan to go to the west despite the weather forecast. On our way to the cliffs of moher we went. We had some rain on the way but when we got there it was dry. We walked around a bit but as it is a popular landmark the were a lot of other people. Lewie did a great job posing and was an attraction himself. A couple from the us asked us if they could take a picture of Lewie.


We then started what we came for:

The Wild Atlantic Way. This is a route along the west coast of Ireland and has a lot of points of interest along the way. We drove up to Connemara.


We stayed at Connemara caravan and camping. The scenery was beautiful next to the beach however, it was storming quite hard. We tried to setup our rooftop tent but didn’t succeed. The wind was too strong. So we had to come up with a different plan. We decided to try to sleep inside the car. We took everything out and put the tent mattress inside. It seemed like this could workout. We made it cosy with our camplights.


Dublin – Cliffs of Moher – Connemara


– Cliffs of Moher

– Wild Atlantic Way


Connemara – Slieve League


– Kylemore Abbey

– Downpatrick Head

The next morning we woke up after a pretty good sleep. It was a bit tight with the three of us in the car and Lewie streching and taking a lot of space, but we slept surprisingly well.

The weather was still stormy and lots of rain. We first drove to Kylemore Abbey castle. Then we continued the route along the wild Atlantic way. We stopped at down Patrickhead. It was quite impressive. Maybe even more than the cliffs of Moher. And as you read on we think we found an even more impressive cliff the next day. The route itself is so beautiful. The landscapes and views were incredible even on a rainy day. We drove all the way up to Slieve League.

Our campsite was nice and the best thing was the pub on walking distance. We decided to sleep inside again as we weren’t sure about the wind. We prepared the car and then went to the pub. They are dog friendly to that was great for us. Lewie was so tired from all his adventures he fell a sleep under Patrick’s chair. We had a pint of Guinness and there was live music. The perfect end of a rainy day.

We woke up and could see a little part of blue sky. It had been a while since we had seen that. We packed up the car and drove for 5 mins. Parked the car and set off to do one of the most beautiful hikes. The parking was very small maybe only 6 cars can fit there. We were the first ones to arrive. The hike is called the pilgrims path up slieve league. It’s not very hard but there are some steep parts. Also it was very wet and muddy after all the rain so waterproof shoes are definitely recommended. We hiked up for about 1,5 hours and then we arrived at the view point. It was incredibly beautiful maybe even more than the cliffs of moher. So if you are in this area and love hiking this is a must do.

We got back to the car and made ourself some lunch. It’s so handy to have our kitchen in the landy 😊 for moments like these. We then got back on the wild Atlantic way. On the way out we stopped at a coffee food truck to get a latte for Orla (Patrick doesn’t drink coffee). We saw a lot of those little foodtrucks around the wild Atlantic way.

We drove up to our next campsite and made a few stops along the way. When we were almost there we saw a pub which was in walking distance from the campsite. We checked in and setup our camp and then walked to the pub. The weather was good and we sat outside with a pint. This pub is the home of Clannad and Enya and we couldn’t believe we were there. It’s funny because when Orla was younger her parents listened to Clannad a lot in the car and Patrick knew enya from the lord of the rings movies. We had some pub grub and then went back to the campsite. We slept in the car again, this time it was not necessary because of the weather but we thought it was so cosy.


Slieve League – Meenaleck


– Pilgrim path

– Leo’s Tavern


Meenaleck – Tranarossan bay


– Wild Atlantic Way

– Dunbeg beach

– Magheroarty Beach

– Dunfanaghy village

– Horn head

We didn’t sleep as wel as the other nights in the back of the car. Not sure why but this time it was different.

For this day we didn’t really have a plan. We got back onto the wild Atlantic way. We drove to a beach for a morning walk. It was beautiful and there was no one else. There are so many beaches around donegal.

We stopped at several viewpoints along the way. That’s the nice thing about following the Wild Atlantic Way, there are so many places to stop for a few minutes and then continue your route.

On one of our stops we saw a route going into the dunes, and we decided to drive on to the track. After a couple of meters we met some locals who showed us where to go. This is a fantastic route and if you are ever in the area with a 4×4 you should gooooo.

After driving around the dunes and beach we continued the WAW up north again. We stopped at a cute village Dunfanaghy and bought some souvenirs. After that we went to another stop on the way: Horn head, a beautiful viewpoint.

Then we made our way to the campsite: Rossan caravan and camping. We set up camp with views over the beach, one of the best views we’ve had while camping. We cooked some dinner and packed our bags for a hike to murder hole beach. We had been looking forward to going there since planning our trip. At first we thought we couldn’t get there from the campsite and had to drive a bit but we asked the owner and were told we could hike over the hill/mountain in front of us. 

We made it to the murder hole. It is a very cool place, a bit scary not because of the name but because of the weather and tides. The weather can change very quick and if you don’t time it well you are stuck. Luckily that didn’t happen to us and we made it safe back to the campsite. 

In the morning we packed up the rover and then walked over to the beach for a morning swim for Lewie. The rest of the day we spent driving back to Lucan, Dublin. We spent our last evening in Ireland with Orla’s family and had dinner together.

DAY 10

Tranarossan bay – Lucan

DAY 11

Dublin – Battle

Time to leave Ireland. The week went by so fast and we have so much more we want to explore so we’ll definitely be back. We took the 7 am ferry from Dublin back to Holyhead. Again a very good experience, from the check in at the port – they scan your license plate and have all the papers ready for you – till the arrival at Holyhead. Lewie did a very good job again. We are so happy that he is such a flexible doggie and goes along with everything we do.

We had a long day of driving a head of us. But we booked a hotel for our last night so we had something to look forward to. We arrived at the hotel in Battle around 8pm. Had some dinner and then went to bed.

Travel day again. But not before we had a proper English breakfast at the hotel. We were lucky there were no queues to get to the Eurotunnel check in. However there was a huge line for the pet reception. On the way back to France you also have to go to the pet reception to get the documents for boarding. We weren’t sure about this as we are going back to EU but still you have to go to the pet check. 

The journey back was allright, we stopped a few times to get some sandwiches and stretch our legs. Then we arrived home and looked back on a great trip! 

DAY 12

Battle – Haarlem

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