The Unwritten Outdoors


I was camping in Ireland over the August bank holiday weekend as most are well aware. But unknowns to most, I was slightly irked after my stay by the Irish lake and I felt it beter to hold off for a little before I spoke and noted my thoughts.

What had happened whilst I was there was that around ten other families decided to colate so as they could pretend that they were of a similar age to the children they brought with them [albeit now with extra added alcohol] and in short become overly inconsiderate to anyone else within the vacinity. That may sound a bit harsh and possibly even untoward. But, it pretty much summises what happened. The offspring were left to do as they wished apart from the odd hollar to fetch another beverage and at around three o’ clock in the morning, the unvolumed nonsensical ramblings continued.

As the refreshments flowed the following day some of the juniors without getting into specifics did as they pleased as the guardians looked after themselves…. and in short, so on it continued. It was in summary a myriad of self obsessesd and extreme indulgences from those who should be exemplary to those who look up to them. In this case it just so happened to be on a campsite.

So why didn’t you….

My family were and are at all times are my primary consideration, well before going to any group of well respectable in appearance grown women and men and asking them to be considerate to others and our surrounds. And although I may not wish this piece to be entirely about something that did not make me smile so I may air my graces, this piece is about more than just camping, It is about your and my greater outdoors.

I will write a guide to camping and that was the original intention when I started to write this piece – but, as I began I realised that once again, Ireland outside, takes in so much more than that. It encompasses the woodlands, the lakes and the nature walks. It is our beaches, our parks and green areas where our children play. It is the biodiversity that I have spoke about on many occasions. It is everything that in audio encompasses the reason I set up the garden group, that last weekend walked through seven kilometres of Dublin hedgerows.

Let me sidetrack here….

On our route we passed a field of brussel sprouts. I explained to one that they are the same family as the cabbage, the brassicae family and the problems I have growing them domestically. Another gentleman joined the conversation empathising with my tale of woe. The conversation now a four strong questions and answers session, one colleague lifted the underside of a leaf to show a cluster of golden eggs. The group had just been introduced to the cabbage white butterfly, which was I should add photographed sitting on a thistle flower at a point previous.

We saw a buzzard, wild apples, berries, trees, ferns and roses rambling through what some may call scrub, but what I would call an unlabelled nature reserve. I may be able to boast that this sits on my doorstep. That logically, is not be the case for everyone.

The question is I guess, are signs needed to tell me not to take and do as I wish in this or any other area. To my previous notes, should a guide be necessary at all or is just that some can’t decipher between common sense and utter nonsensical.

That aside, I do know that ninety nine per cent of us are well respecting and logic throughout our daily lives. And for that I stand by your side and applaud you. This is my nineteenth article for The Tribesman. It is the first in which one may consider that I have written in albeit a mild form of, but yet an unhappy tone. I promise, for next weeks piece, I will be back to my normal self.

In the meantime, thanks for reading and chat to you next week.

Contact Peter Donegan

originally published in The Tribesman week Monday 15th August

peter donegan

8 replies
  1. Simon
    Simon says:

    I’ve had 2 similar experiences.
    First was at Spanish point during Willie clancy festival. The car park by the beach was full of happy campers. Until a gang of pups parked in the middle of it all and blared thumping tunes from their Honda civic all night.
    Then last year at electric picnic in the quiet campsite, a rowdy group of people in their late twenties thought they were the only people there and talked and sang all night.
    Now I make sure I bring earplugs when camping.

  2. peter donegan
    peter donegan says:


    I can sort of understand, not to say it makes it right, at a festival. May-be not so much at a festival that is not Oxegen-esque, but I can sort of understand….. still, a bit of consideration even at a gig goes a long way. And at EP quite/ Willie Clancy I’m a bit surprised.
    But family camping is just that and even at Electric Picnic the family camping area and unwritten quite time is highly respected.

    Personally, I dont mind, as much as those with more energetic children did.
    Hope your keeping good and chat soon,

  3. Lizmcgpr
    Lizmcgpr says:

    That is the fear when you venture on a family camping trip. Especially if you have small children (of which I’ve one). This happened to us once when we went camping with a pal of mine and her family.

    Her husband did engage and ask the guys to keep it down which was (in retrospect) a mistake, all night they used their tent and area the walkway, dancing and singing around it etc etc. Owners of the park sleep in their home quite a distance from the site and as a result didn’t know the issues until the following morning.

    That the joy of camping you never know what to expect! Many camp sites have strict rules about noise following 11pm etc Also quite a few are becoming family focussed and have security onsite throughout which takes a few leaves from the French camping experiences.

    Have yet to get the urge to try again even though the young one is mad to do it.

    Ps A friend of mine lives in Wexford and has just launched a small local market brand called Wild About, based on the ingredients found in the local hedgegrows – has developed quite a cult following!

  4. peter donegan
    peter donegan says:


    after reading your comment, I’m glad I didn’t engage. I know of one Irish campsite noted to me on FB that charges a €50 deposit – in case the rules of quiet time/ fires out by 11 are broken.

    There are some great Irish campsites out there, I guess a little note on the sites website noting a presence might not be unwarranted.

    It won’t deter me from going again.
    hope you’re good and chat soon,
    ps: will check out Wild about

  5. Lizzie Murray
    Lizzie Murray says:


    Sounds like you were at the same campsite as me but on a different weekend. I love Dunmore East, its a totally stunning part of the country but there is no proper campsite only a place to pitch your tent on the grass of a Mobile home park kind of affair. Now the people that are there are nice but like that the kids are left run wild. First time we went was the Tall Ships weekend and I thought it was just the weekend that was in it so decided to give it a go again last weekend.. Just me and the little man.. Kids were running wild, people drinking and screaming at all hours of the night. I didnt manage to get to sleep before 5 both nights we were there.. We were pitched beside the tennis courts with only a bush between us and the courts and a load of older kids decided after getting back from the pub to start letting off screamers at silly o’clock and I was petrified one of them would be let off badly and end up either in our heads or out tent. Have decided not to go to that particular one but I will give it a go at other ones until I find a great one that I will go back to again and again. After all I have all my camping gear now 🙂

  6. peter donegan
    peter donegan says:


    sorry it didn’t work out and fair play for sticking with it.

    My hope via what I have written is *not to turn anyone off Irish campsites and Irish camping. More that I, you and others will lessen potential bad experiences – albeit ones based on our assumptions, of what the setting would/ should be.

    I absolutely love the great outdoors and camping. I also fully appreciate the live and let live/ takes all sorts/ and enjoy yourself along the way type of getting on with life – but – I don’t think even my stay was as enduring as yours.

    Maybe this is the USP Irish campsites need to market [and ensure] for the better, of us all.

    Best for now,

  7. Lizzie Murray
    Lizzie Murray says:

    Yep in the words of the great Shania Twain “I aint no quitter” lol 🙂 In saying all of what I said we still made the most of it and cant wait to get off to the next place. Thinking Redcross is a great place to try next. Im hearing great things about it 🙂
    Ciao for now

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