Eco-tourism is going to be the next big thing when we are finally able to travel again – and for those seeking a destination that’s renowned for being clean and green, the island of Ireland will rank high.
As more and more hotels, B&Bs, hostels, cottages, self-catering rentals and even caravan sites on the island commit to sustainability, committing yourself to finding the right eco-friendly hideaway to fit your budget is straightforward.
The ‘smart’ carbon-neutral ethos of The Salthouse in County Antrim, for example, goes hand in hand with sustainability and jaw-dropping views of the Causeway Coastal Route, while water waste is one of the top eco-priorities at Delphi Resort in Connemara, County Galway.
In County Meath you’ll find Bellinter House using underground heat for its swimming pool, while at the Lackan Cottage Farm in County Down you can have a completely off-grid self-catering stay in an organic smallholding.
Green travel is great travel in Ireland, and The Burren, the remarkable rocky landscape of County Clare, is perhaps the leading eco destination in the country. A network of local enterprises in the area is helping to make The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark into a global leader for sustainable tourism, scooping a Lonely Planet ‘Best in Travel’ pick for 2021 in the process.
The multitude of eco-friendly activities in The Burren include heritage and eco-centres, walking tours, cycling, adventure sports, culture, wellbeing, surfing, pubs, dining and local food producers – all of which promotes responsible travel and the conservation of the environment.
Another pure eco-destination to head for is Cloughjordan Ecovillage in County Tipperary. This internationally recognised destination for learning about sustainable living has over 100 residents living in high-performance green homes, and offers plenty of arts and crafts, heritage and culture, a cookery school, a community farm and more to explore. Tours of the eco-village will be available when circumstances allow, and there is also an eco-hostel if you want to stay longer.
Of course, all around the wild and natural Irish landscapes there are hundreds of green activities and sustainable experiences to enjoy, whether in remote coastal and rural areas, isolated islands, scenic greenways, slow travel on calm inland waterways or even on bikes in busy cities.
You could try anything from a leave no trace walk along the clifftop above the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim, a yoga retreat in an Ard Nahoo eco-cabin in County Leitrim, created with locally salvaged wood, or a visit to the Cool Planet Experience, a climate change museum for kids within the scenic surrounds of Powerscourt Estate & Gardens in County Wicklow.
Whatever getaway you choose, you’ll be upping your sustainable game and minimising your impact on the planet.