posted on June 07, 2008 12:04
Last Sunday, the Sunday Tribune published an article claiming that there is a boom in West of Ireland beach front holiday homes that is being driven by affluent surfers who want a window on the waves. Sound Waves found this article very interesting because it told us something that, notwithstanding we are plugged into a niche of the Irish surf scene, we did not know and were unware of in our circle of wave riders. In a nutshell, we know of nobody who has bought, is in the process of buying, or intends to buy any such property, although we know of a number of people who have invested in that most hated of vehicles, to the presenters of Top Gear at least, the camper van. If there is such a boom we do not think that it is being driven by Irish surfers who spend their year chasing the swell from one end of the island to the other, and therefore prefer not to be tied to one spot, but rather by local business people in the West who may seek to buy to let such houses to travelling wave riders, usually from Dublin.
Sound Waves, contrary to what you might think, is not in favour of the camper van mentality and our rather emotional position has been backed up by the findings of a New Zeland study which found that camper van holidays have a carbon footprint four times higher than trips conducted with a private car where the travellers stay in B&Bs. When it comes to surf trips, whether in Ireland or abroad, our view is that it is preferable to stay in a self catering house or B&B thus providing income for the local economy and use a car with better fuel consumption and lower emmissions than trundle around the country in the civilian equivalent of a Panzer tank,driving across fragile dunes, ripping up the sand, grass and other natural fauna in the process just so that you can park on surf breaks.
Separately, The Irish Independent has reported today that Kerry County Council are clamping down on illegal camping and camper vans at coastal beauty spots and that, according to Cllr Dan Kiely, camper vans parked on access roads to beaches in Ballybunion were causing huge problems.
Interestingly, Volkswagen has unveiled a retro concept VW camper van which used solar power and an electric engine instead of the tradtional VW engine.
(Photo c/o Magic Seaweed Photo Lab)
In the meantime, here is one good use for a camper van courtesy of Top Gear.