Review of Pure Camping, Loop Head, Ireland
Catherine Mack visits the campsite, off-grid cabins and glampsite run by 'Pure Camping' on the Loop Head peninsula, County Clare, Ireland
In a nutshell:
A collection of bell tents, off-grid wooden cabins as well as a few pitches for a tents in a glorious spiritual setting on the Loop Head peninsula created by two passionate nature/outdoors enthusiasts as a joint project with community members. The site is also a venue for events and yoga/meditation retreats.
Rooms: 5 bell tents (three furnished 5m tents and two unfurnished 4m tents), 3 wooden cabins, several tent pitches and 2 small campervan bays
Price: Tent or campervan pitch from €12 per person per night; 4m unfurnished bell tent €15 per person per night; 5m furnished bell tent from €60 per night (minimum two nights); wooden cabin from €90 per night (minimum two nights)
Meals: Onsite pizza oven; seafood available at nearby award-winning gastropub The Long Dock, in Carrigaholt, and seafood chowder at Keatings Pub in Kilbaha
Open: year round
Facilities: Campers kitchen equipped with pots and pans, crockery and cutlery and electric hob; Sauna; Yoga and Meditation classes;
Good for Green: Walkers & Cyclists Welcome; Owners have planted 4 hectares of native woodland; Get there by train and bus to Kilkee where you can hire a bike or take a taxi for final leg.
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Catherine's Review of Pure Camping
The setting: One of the west of Ireland’s peninsulas that stretches out into the Atlantic like a jewel bedecked finger, Loop Head has a perfect combination of calm and crashing waves. The former is on the River Shannon’s estuary which flanks Loop Head’s southern side, and the latter is on the north side where the dramatic cliffs and seascapes are shaped by the surge of the Atlantic. Pure Camping is located at Querrin, on the more sheltered Shannon side, just 15 mins walk from the shore and it is an oasis of calm in all senses of the word. Pure Camping is also located on the 65km Loop Head Cycleway, which goes around the whole peninsula, top to toe.
The accommodation: Pure Camping has an array of accommodation to suit every outdoorsy person’s needs and budgets. There are fully furnished bell tents, each with a deck and firepit, but there are also unfurnished ones with sleeping mats provided. New to the campsite in 2020 are three off-grid wooden cabins, with wood-burning stoves and ensuite bathrooms. Having these cosy spots has meant that Trea and Kevin Heape, Pure Camping’s owners, have been able to extend their season to cover spring and autumn now. There are also a few pitches for campers with their own tents, as well as a communal bathroom and a fully equipped camping kitchen. Very popular with all guests, there is also a beautiful wood-burning barrel sauna on site.
The food: It’s a campsite, so cooking is up to you, although there is a pizza oven on site and of course wellness retreats are fully catered, with vegan and vegetarian fare. However there is no shortage of great Irish pubs and restaurants on Loop Head if you want to dine out. Two of my favourite foodie experiences were a symphony of seafood at award-winning gastropub The Long Dock, in Carrigaholt, and the seafood chowder at Keatings Pub in Kilbaha, overlooking the southward facing side of the peninsula’s tip. For the best places to eat along Ireland’s west coast, don’t travel without this book: The Wild Atlantic Way, Where to eat and stay, by Ireland’s best food writers and devotees of local deliciousness, Sally and John Mckenna.
The activities: Trea and Kevin Heape created Pure Camping because, among many reasons, their natural heritage is indeed pure. This is a work of two people’s passion for both the natural world and natural healing. Kevin and Trea are also natural hosts and welcoming people to their exquisite corner of Ireland clearly comes totally naturally to them. Trea is a yoga and meditation teacher and so there are courses and classes throughout the year here, and spiritual practitioners of yoga will love the site’s labyrinth, which was created as a joint project with community members.
Loop Head Tourism has won awards for its commitment to eco and community led tourism projects. As well as Loop Head Cycleway there are glorious coastal walks, guided or self-guided) birding tours, coasteering and horse riding. The most memorable experience for me, however, was seeing the dolphins which live in the Shannon estuary. Dolphinwatch’s Geoff & Susanne Magee run exemplary ecotourism trips, experts not only in cetaceans but all things coastal. They are another example of fine Loop Head people who are committed to the natural world and leave visitors falling in love with the Loop.
The Green: As well as being leading members of the exemplary Loop Head Tourism network, which has sustainability of the area as its core mission, Pure Camping is wholly committed to maintaining the biodiversity of the area. They have details of local flora and fauna on their website, work with local experts to provide guided nature tours and have planted 4 hectares of native woodland. They have a rainwater harvesting system for the communal bathroom and hot water for the shower block is generated by a wood-burning stove. Hot water for the communal kitchen is generated by solar power and there is also solar lighting around the campsite.
Top Tip: If you are a keen outdoor swimmer, ask for directions to the Pollock Holes in Kilkee where, when the tide goes out, natural swimming pools are left among the rocks. Then head to The Kilkee Thalassotherapy Centre, a small family-run business where you can experience an Irish tradition of a seaweed bath. From Pure Camping to pure bladderwrack bliss.
The Verdict: Pure Camping isn’t just green, it’s a sparkling emerald in a special corner of the island. There is something very calming about this place, and it is also very family friendly. Trea and Kevin are parents themselves and they know how wonderful it is when we see the young people in our lives connect with nature again. It’s glamping without any designer welly boots, spiritual without being in your face about it and pure in an Irish rain sort of way. It seems to just come naturally.
Getting there: Loop Head is not the easiest by public transport, but it is worth it. And with fully equipped tents and cabins you don’t need a car. You can travel by train to Limerick or Ennis train stations and then take a bus to Kilkee. Pure Camping will recommend a taxi company to pick you up, or you can hire a bike in Kilkee at Williams Rent A Bike, Tel: +353 65 9056041 (no website), or rent an electric one at Loop Head Bike Hire.
>> See our Guide to How to travel to Ireland without flying
Book a holiday at Pure Camping:
Email Trea and Kevin on firstname.lastname@example.org or call them on: +353 (0)86 3819216.