Going away somewhere, just to come back
Getting back to nature cannot be underestimated in an era of which we are constantly connected to our smartphones, email and constant bombardment of slick advertising. With this in mind and needing to take a break, I decided to go on a camping trip for a few days with a couple of friends in the West of Ireland. With no strict itinerary, we packed our bags and set out on a drive across country where we would visit Doolin, followed by a couple more days on the Dingle peninsula.
Camping in Ireland with friends
For those who are unfamiliar with the name, Doolin is a tiny fishing village, where the untamed Atlantic meets the western coast of Ireland. The area has an almost musical atmosphere as you listen to marauding waves crash against the cliffs and the songs of birds permeating the natural beat. In contrast however, the campsite itself offers some respite from a small islet visible during daylight and with our marshmallows over the campfire after dinner, we were suddenly miles from civilisation and telling stories beneath the stars.
As a base, Doolin is also extremely well placed to visit the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren and Aillwee Caves and while it made travelling about the area ultra convenient for us, even a young family could use the camp to explore them from here. At night, we exchanged stories almost as if they were ritual, tales of various legends, half of which were more than certainly made up, but also reminiscing about home and our families. Our inexperience showed each morning as we struggled with taking down the tent and, in my case, letting the pole go when I shouldn't have and taking it right in the eye as a result. As we laughed at ourselves, I could still feel that initial shock of where the pole acquainted itself with my eye but as with every day of the camping trip, it felt amazing to be travelling, exploring the outdoors with some friends and enjoying some new experiences.
Packing up on the morning of the third day, slightly weary, but still smiling, we moved southwest towards the Dingle peninsula. One of the better known secrets of Ireland, Dingle has been (in)famous in recent years for forming part of a central love triangle in Hollywood and for being transplanted entirely to the eastern coast, somewhere between Cork and Dublin. Factually, however, Dingle is still an area of abandoned cottages, stone walls and a ridiculous number of sheep. It felt like an aura of magic pervaded the area and with the absence of our smartphones, it truly felt like we were connecting deeply with Ireland. Camping in a small bay on the Dingle Peninsula, it felt as though we were now forging our own legends and our very own stories to be passed down through from generation to generation.
Dingle itself is still a busy port town, reliant on the tourist trade but this was merely a lunch stop on our camping trip in Ireland and soon we were back in the countryside. Trekking the trails of this isolated peninsula, sleeping in our tents and acting out the lifestyles of some proto-cavemen, we sought our connection with nature and in the process, foregoing our connection with the modern world. It would all come to an end soon as we had our families, our lives and our jobs to return to but the trip was something we all needed and in many ways acted as a refresh button for our busy lives.
Going away somewhere, just to come back
When I think back on our time camping in Ireland, where we felt that sense of connection through our exchanges of stories and secrets, our hopes and our desires, our four days spent in Doolin and the Dingle peninsular, I can't help but marvel at how travelling far from home had brought us closer together as friends and before returning back to our connected lives, we have found a newfound lust and will to return to the modern world re-energised.
Derek is a Canadian travel blogger and loves marketing & advertising. Has travelled all around the world including Australia & New Zealand.