Snail Spaces: Cité Europe

There is an area of car park outside Carrefour at Cité Europe that has the height bar removed. It is signed for motorhomes, which by convention are permitted to park overnight for sleeping purposes. The location is ideal for those coming or going on the shuttle at early or late hours.

The location is extremely popular, do not expect to be alone there.

The car park is very well lit and did not feel unsafe in any way. There was surprisingly little overnight noise though some loud hammering at 4:30 am was a little surprising and quite unwelcome.

The supermarket opens at 09:00 and we went over to get some supplies. Most of the small shops and eateries do not open until 10:00 but we found a takeaway with a few tables where we had a croissant and coffee for breakfast before engaging with our wallets.

Last Visit: September 2017

You may call it a sudden whim, if you wish

Okay, so we have talked about doing this for a while now and nothing happened but finally we saw sense. It was crazy to be so close to Stranraer and not to go visit Ireland.  It may also have had something to do with the sudden death of a neighbour. Let’s face it, we are all of us here one day and gone the next. Chances should not be let pass by.

So, when Mr Snail suggested that we go to Ireland, we slept on it, then booked tickets in the morning and the very next day we were on the boat. Return tickets are booked for three weeks’ time.

We sailed at one minute to midnight from Stranraer on Tuesday 7th February, had a very gentle crossing, and at about a quarter past two on Wednesday morning we rolled off the boat in Larne. By 02:30 we were in our bed, parked up in a car park at Drains Bay.

The Drains Bay option had been suggested to me on Facebook and it was a really good suggestion. An ideal spot, opposite the beach and adjacent to a country park for Nell’s morning run. Sadly the site now has height bars, set at 7′. Luckily for us the height bars were open or we would have been wandering Northern Ireland on a dark and frosty night seeking a place to lay our weary heads.

We parked at the Northern end of the car park, by the Hall and away from the houses at the other end.

Drains Bay car park

It was a bright morning when we rose to see the sun coming up over the sea, and it was very frosty and cold. The frost soon disappeared with the arrival of the sun. Nell and Mr Snail went for a walk in the park and I recorded the height bars for various reviews of wild spots.

I guess we are not really wanted here

It soon became clear that this is a very busy car park indeed and popular with early morning dog walkers. If we returned here we would park at the Southern end next time, and not inconvenience the locals wishing to park closer to the Country Park entrance.

We had risen ridiculously early, considering the lateness of our bedtime,  because we did not want to be a nuisance. A good decision, it seemed, in the event.

Of course, we were still very tired. Taking this into account, we planned to move up the road only by a few miles and to go to a location where apparently motorhomes are welcome and not likely to inconvenience anybody at all.