When we sat down several weeks ago to write our Summer Bucket list, camping was the first pick from the kids….
I quickly edited this glamping!
On the last day of school we picked up the kids and surprised them with a fully packed car and a two night adventure at Top of the Rock Pod Páirc and Walking Centre in Drimoleague, Co Cork.
Top of the Rock is a pod camping experience in the heart of West Cork. The first of its kind in Ireland. Top of the Rock offers a unique camping experience for couples, walkers, and of course families.
Upon arrival at the páirc we were greeted by the gentle and kind-hearted David. David and his wife Elizabeth opened the paírc after identifying a need for specialist accommodation for walkers. In the short few years since, the pod paírc has become a special place for families visiting West Cork.
With great patience David greeted two over excited kids as they bound out of the car. With a very brief (thanks to the kids) tour of the facilities David handed over the keys to our pod. While ThisIrishDad and myself unloaded the car ThisIrishBoy and ThisIrishGirl set off to explore the grounds and play area.
One of the best things about Top of the Rock Pod Páirc is it’s safety.
Visitors to the páirc are reminded to keep the gates closed at all times. The páircthough spacious is laid out in a way that allows parents to keep an eye on children wherever they roam. The playground area though small was plenty adequate for the kids and they soon made friends with other children staying at Top of the Rock. The children loved playing long into the evenings during our stay.
Literally situated on top of the rock, the páirc overlooks the stunning countryside. Due to its location along the Drimoleague Heritage Walk and St Finbarr’s Pilgrimage, Top of the Rock is well suited as a Walking Centre. Families will enjoy the Drimoleague Heritage Walk. Upon leaving the páirc take the casual walk down the hill to the river. From here the river walk stretches about a mile criss-crossing across the river using magical stepping stones and footbridges.
Top of the Rock is a working farm.
Top of the Rock is home to a number of animals, some whom take residence in the pasture near the pods. The kids loved watching the animals feed. They spent time talking to them over the fence each morning. They were fast friends with David’s dog Daisy who was never too far behind. During our stay the children to feed a young goat and two baby calves were born.
In the evening time, David lit the camp fire and everyone gathered around roasting marshmallows. It wasn’t long before ‘Marshmallow’ the sheep joined us by the fire and cleared all the marshmallows the children had dropped.
The Celtic pod is one of two luxury pods available.
We were fortunate enough to have secured the Celtic Pod for our stay. A luxury pod includes a double bed, pull out couch, toilet and kitchenette with sink, kettle, microwave and fridge. The pod was surprisingly spacious and made perfect accommodation for ThisIrishFamily’s first ever camping experience. I was pleasantly surprised that it was stocked on our arrival with basic kitchen ware and cutlery, hand soap and toilet roll.
The bed was comfortable. With all the fresh West Cork air the kids slept soundly on their pull out couch (which we brought our own bedding for). The pod had electricity and a small heater if needed. We had packed easy meals and enjoyed eating on our own picnic table located next to the pod. Had we needed it the main building housed a full kitchen for the guests use. Each pod had it’s own kitchen press to store supplies in.
Farm Hands at Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock welcomes children to join them on the farm on Wednesday and Saturday mornings to learn about life on the farm. Sadly our stay didn’t coincide with Farm Hands, but since it’s open to anyone we plan on heading down for the day soon. Every other family we met on the Wednesday night highly recommended it.
This Irish Family Top Tips:
• Top of the Rock is easy to get to with signs in Drimoleague showing the way.
• While luxury pods are en suite not all pods are. A bit of luxury was nice but the toilet facilities in the main building were clean and modern.
• Bring €1 coins. Shower facilities in the main building cost €1 per 5 minutes. This was a great lesson to the kids that 5 minutes is more than enough time for them both to shower! The showers like the toilets were clean and well-tended to.
•The main building provides kitchen facilities. To my surprise they were well stocked with kitchen basics including cutlery. Each pod receives their own press and key.
• There is free wi-fi in the walking centre and 3G/4G throughout the páirc.
• The main building also houses a laundry room as well as reception and games room. I can’t speak on the games facilities – we were lucky with dry weather and the kids barely went inside during our stay.
• FARM HANDS is Wednesday and Saturday mornings and is open to the public so best to book ahead.
• Extra mattresses are available if needed in the main building. Depending on your booking you may need to bring your own bedding.
• The Centra in Drimoleague is big and has a great bakery section and ice cream! They also do cooked chickens which make for a handy dinner back at the pod páirc.
• Don’t forget to pack marshmallows 🙂
David and Elizabeth have truly created something special with Top of the Rock Pod Páirc and Walking Centre. For ThisIrishFamily it was a chance for us to be together and make memories family. We were all sad when it came time to leave and will most definitely visit again.
Thanks to David and Elizabeth who allowed ThisIrishFamily to stay in the Celtic Pod at a reduced rate. All opinions are as always our own.