Donegal is set to be full of happy campers this summer as outdoor explorers chart the Wild Atlantic Way.
Having adequate facilities will be a priority for these visitors, and for the communities who host them.
Ciaran McHugh, who broke ground on a new campsite at Sliabh Liag, says campers already have Donegal high on their lists.
“It’s going to be absolutely crazy this year. If I could open the site now, I’d be full,” McHugh told Donegal Daily.
A recent survey placed Donegal as 2021’s second top staycation destination, after Kerry, while the Sliabh Liag cliffs were named as the most popular ‘secret holiday spot’ in the country. Sliabh Liag Camping is set to open in July, and so, it will be hitting the market at the right time and in the right location.
There’s been an unprecedented demand for campervans this past year, predominately due to the pandemic, and with outdoors being the ‘theme’ of the summer, it’s about to be the perfect time for camper enthusiasts to live the dream.
“Camping is an adventure tourist’s dream. It’s Covid-friendly, since it’s outdoors, healthy and safe,” McHugh says. “It’s all about the great outdoors, the fresh air, the wind in your hair, a BBQ in the evening, and here, you’re at the foot of Sliabh Liag on the Wild Atlantic Way. It’s family and couple-orientated and it’s value for money.”
The new campsite, located beside the Sliabh Liag visitor centre in Teelin, will cater for 19 parking bays with associated services. Prices will be reduced this summer as not all facilities will be ready by the July opening, but with the support of Donegal County Council, McHugh said he will be able to offer toilet facilities at the visitor centre.
Meanwhile. Donegal County Council is looking at developing the camping sector and seeking the public’s opinion on camping issues. The study is part of work to see how best the sector can be supported and how it can be developed to meet the needs of local communities.
McHugh says that bad press around campers and illegal parking stems from a lack of service facilities in the county.
“More positive action, and more places for people to safely park up at night will be welcomed,” he said.
“The local support I’ve gotten here has been great. Everyone is buzzing. This region of Donegal doesn’t really have any facilities for campervans and the camping community. You have North Donegal, which is well-established with the camping community, but around here there isn’t much, while Sliabh liag is the flagship tourist attraction in Donegal. Visitors then filter up through the county to Inishowen and Malin Head.”
McHugh, a native of Teelin, is hoping that his progress on Sliabh Liag camping might inspire others to invest in their local areas.
“This is about job creation too, I’d be hoping by next summer to employ a team.”
Progress is well underway on the campsite, with the latest addition being a gypsy wagon all the way from Kerry. Construction is on schedule for opening at the beginning of July. Bookings will open on the second week of June.Tags: