A few weeks ago I was searching for somewhere in Ireland to take a week’s holidays. Just a change of scenery for myself and himself, and the two girls (16 and 20).
Camping is our preference. Also important is peace and quiet at night. And scenery. And close proximity to shops and night life (just in case we get fed up with the peace and quiet). Oh…and a beach – daughter number one had placed great importance on the presence of a nice sandy beach.
Not an easy task to find a campsite in Ireland that ticks all the boxes, as I soon found out.
A campsite that we’d been to a couple of years ago in Kilmuckridge was ruled out as there weren’t many shops around. Another one in Cork was also crossed off the list for the same reason. Our favourite campsite in Killarney didn’t fit the bill as there was no sandy strand within walking distance. Mayo was deemed too far as we were only going for one week. One by one, potential sites were eliminated from a list that I’d compiled from various camping websites and recommendations on forums.
I came across the website for Mannix Point camp site during my search and thought the place sounded lovely. I liked the warm, personal welcome from Mortimer Moriarty in the ‘About’ section of the website. I loved the pictures in the photo gallery of the pitches beside the water, with yachts sailing by. And the music sessions in the camper’s sitting room with turf fire sounded just perfect. And on a discussion forum that I consult on an occasional basis, another user who was in Mannix Point at the time, recommended it.
I ruled it out initially because there was no sand. God, it’s hard trying to keep everyone happy.
As our ‘holiday week’ approached and I’d still nowhere booked, I called a family meeting. There was no way I was booking anything and listening to a barrage of complaints for the week. I put the idea of Mannix Point forward, expecting a resounding ‘No’ from the beach babe. To my surprise, she latched onto the mention of the camper’s sitting room with the live music (maybe she thought there’d be some heavy metallers there) and, with that, we had a unanimous ‘yes’ vote.
We arrived in Mannix Point on the Saturday, after a four hour drive, and knew at first glimpse of the site that we’d made the right decision in coming there.
The campsite is situated beside the Valentia Observatory. A long, well kept driveway leads up to the reception area, and one of the first things I noticed was the spectacular backdrop of the mountains sloping down to the sea.
Another thing that captured my attention was the abundance of orange Montbrieta in the hedgerows.
I think Montbrieta is a beautiful flower and I was surprised to see, from internet forums, that it’s regarded as a bit of a pest.
I obviously have a thing for pests as Rhododendron is another of my favourites.
Montbrieta looks spectacular early in the morning.
But enough of the Montbrieta (for now). Not everyone shares my enthusiasm. Back to the campsite!
I had emailed Mortimer beforehand and had asked for a quiet pitch for ‘the van’ (a lady in Wexford corrected me once over that – ‘Oh you mean the TOOOORUR’….’eh no, I mean the caravan…’).
Where we were placed was perfect – right beside the waterside and with hedging on one side. And the pitches were a decent size too.
No matter what pitch you have or which direction you look, there are breathtaking views from Mannix Point.
A grassy walkway runs around the perimeter of the campsite.
And there are benches where you can sit and admire the boats sailing back and forth, or just enjoy a moment’s peace.
The site was fairly quiet while we were there and a large amount of campers seemed to be just passing through. We had new ‘neighbours’ every couple of days, but no matter who stayed, they all battened down the hatches and were quiet after 11 o’clock at night. The only thing to be heard after that was the birds calling to each other. In fact I was woken one night by some very noisy ducks who decided they’d quack all the way from the edge of the water, past our caravan, to wherever they were going.
The only other noise that woke us was the wind and the rain. We had a couple of dodgy nights when the wind rose up, the caravan rocked back and forth, and we were afraid the awning would pull free. When you’re so close to the coast and exposed to the elements you have to expect nights like that. Thankfully we’d copied other campers and sited the caravan at an angle so as not to get the full brunt of the wind.
We spent a lot of time travelling around Valentia Island, and must have stopped in every town between Glenbeigh and Kenmare, so, save for one night, we didn’t really use the camper’s sitting room. That one night was great craic though. A fantastic lady from Watford played guitar and sang, and encouraged everyone to either sing a song or to play one of the many instruments that Mortimer has made available in the sitting room. Around twenty campers joined in and the girls thoroughly enjoyed it.
This is one campsite we’ll definitely be back to. It has all the facilities you could need from a campsite – good hot showers, clean bathrooms (although the ladies’ ceiling needs a bit of a repair job), a lovely bright kitchen with a pretty garden attached, the homely camper’s sitting room with turf fire, and of course, the blissful peace at night.
Yup….we’ll be back….