Doonbeg cottage with attached motorhome site perfect for happy campers

Ten years ago a British couple decided to get out of the rat race and combine an Irish coastal home with their campervan passion

Asking price: €595,000

Selling agents: Sherry FitzGerald McMahon 065 686 7866

Motorhoming is enjoying a resurgence in Ireland in the aftermath of Covid-19.

The outbreaks restricted travel and helped us appreciate the spectacular scenery in our own back yard.

The new appeal is evidenced by the Motorhome Enthusiasts Ireland Facebook page, which saw followers recently surge above 8,000.

Because Ireland is a small country with an extensive coastline and a wide variance of scenery, it is perfect for little homes on wheels and we draw in camper couples from all over Europe.

The Wild Atlantic Way in particular has been described as ‘Mecca for Motorhomes’, the one fly in the ointment being that enthusiasts repeatedly complain about the lack of suitable Irish camping sites.

An aerial view of the house and campsite

Jamie and Amanda Hunter are wheel-borne wanderers who fell in love with the camping life long before the current trend emerged.

When they settled by the Atlantic Ocean at Doonbeg, Co Clare, in 2014, they decided to combine their hobby with their home and bought a cottage attached to a campsite where they could welcome fellow wanderers,

Jamie and Amanda are no strangers to coastal living. They come from seaside towns located diagonally opposite one another on the coasts of England.

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Amanda hails from the Yorkshire town of Whitby on the North Sea coast, once home to the great wanderer and explorer Captain Cook.

Jamie was born 400 miles to the southwest in the Atlantic coastal town of Port Isaac, Cornwall.

The village found fame as the film location for Doc Martin, a TV medical comedy-drama series starring Martin Clunes.

“We met somewhere in the middle,” Jamie says.

The exterior of the property

The couple’s passion for the camping life was kindled during a holiday in Australia in 2011 when they toured the country in a hired camper van.

“We loved the experience and the lifestyle, and when we came back to the UK, we bought our own campervan,” says Jamie.

“We later discovered that most campervan owners have come to it the same way — they hire first and then buy.

“We went around the UK looking at campsites thinking about buying and eventually we had a eureka moment, a ‘let’s do it moment’ when we decided to just sell up and go for it.

The living room of the cottage

“Neither of us had a background in the leisure industry. Amanda was the manager of a technology team and I worked in training in the charity sector, but we said, ‘let’s follow what we want to do’ and we knew what we wanted.”

When they spotted the campsite at Doonbeg on the market in 2014, they weren’t daunted by the fact that it was on the west coast of Ireland.

“We had an affinity with Ireland — we had been here many times and, in fact, had spent our honeymoon here,” says Jamie.

The West Clare property ticked all the boxes for them.

“When we go camping, we want to be able to walk to the local shop or village, go for a pint or a meal and we want to be near the water,” he says.

Strand Camping is on a 1.5ac site

“Here, we are across the road from the Atlantic and a genuine 10-minute walk to the village of Doonbeg, where there is a great community with shops and pubs and places to eat.”

Doonbeg is located between Kilkee and Milltown Malbay and the town is also famous for the Donald Trump-owned Doonbeg Golf Club.

“It had been run as a campsite for many years, but was basically a grass field,” says Jamie.

“It just gave us the opportunity to create a campsite based on what we look for when we go camping, so that’s what we set about doing when we took over.”

The couple plan to travel around Ireland for their next adventure. Photo: Alan Soutar

The property includes a cottage with two double bedrooms and a main space made up of an open-plan kitchen/dining and living area with high ceilings and a large traditional fireplace fitted with a modern stove.

There is also a loft space, now used as an office, that could be used as a child’s bedroom.

“It is a traditional cottage with fantastic sea views and we just had some cosmetic work to do when we bought it,” he says.

“With its own entrance, its own garden and its own driveway, it is separate from the campsite.”

While the facility had all the necessary permissions to operate, the new owners set about upgrading.

“Among the top priorities for anyone camping, be it in a tent, a caravan or a motorhome, are good shower and washing facilities.

“So we put a lot of effort into the shower block where each unit is an ensuite piece containing a shower, toilet and wash hand basin and plenty of space to change.

“They are not the cubicle type you see in a swimming pool, but are big enough for a parent to take a child in with them.”

There’s a kids’ play area on the site

The laundry room was originally a portacabin. “We had it clad and decorated to make it look like a collection of traditional beach huts.

“Both Amanda and I were brought up in seaside towns and these are the things we remember from our childhood.”

Each of the 19 pitches has its own electricity connection with its own 16-amp fuse, so if there is an electric problem at one pitch, it doesn’t knock out the rest of the site.

The site is also connected to the main sewer in the area.

“We put a lot of work into getting that right,” says Jamie. “It involved a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with Clare County Council, but it came right.”

There are also a number of storage buildings on the property.

In keeping with their philosophy of creating a campsite with the kind of facilities they expect when they are on tour, the Strand Camping at Doonbeg has a kids’ play area and is dog-friendly, with a dog walking and exercise space along with the ultimate in canine luxury — an outdoor dog shower.

The place is strictly a touring campsite, with no seasonal pitches and no fixed accommodation.

“We don’t do any discounts for long stays and we close from mid-September to March,” he says.

The Hunters have met some wonderful people on the site. Photo: Alan Soutar

“People come for a night, for a few nights, a week or two or maybe three, but we don’t have people in for longer.

“We have lots of repeat business. We liked to spend the winter touring in our own campervan so wanted to be able to close the place up and not have to worry about anyone who is on site.”

For their next adventure, the Hunters intend to turn their winter-touring schedule into an all-year round experience.

“During the winters, we toured extensively in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, but we never really travelled much of here because when we closed in September, a lot of the places in Ireland closed.

“So we intend to see a bit of Ireland and we want to go to some of the countries in northern Europe that are not really suitable for touring in the winter.

“We just want to go travelling more. It’s a lifestyle for us, a bug, we love it. We loved owning the campsite. We met some lovely people and there is a great community spirit in camping.”

The Hunters leave behind Strand Camping on a 1.5ac site, hosting 19 serviced pitches along with a shower and toilet block, a play area and laundry facilities, which they have just placed for sale.

The property will particularly suit camping enthusiasts who want to abandon the rat race just like the Hunters did a decade ago and combine a passion, a business and a home with spectacular sea views.

Sherry FitzGerald McMahon of Ennis is seeking €595,000.