Magazine

5 eco-friendly reasons to choose Ireland

So you’ve set your mind on an eco-friendly holiday that minimises your environmental impact? Here are five reasons why green travel in Ireland is simply great travel…

Reason 1: We have great eco-friendly places to stay! Check out Downpatrick’s Hemp Cottage, a charming escape, surrounded by an orchard, organic vegetable garden, chickens and ducks. And all within hiking or biking distance to the Mourne Mountains. Or maybe try the Gyreum Eco Lodge in Sligo, which uses geothermal and sunlight heating systems, serves the freshest local produce – much plucked straight from its own allotment – and even takes all that rainwater to use for showers!

Reason 2:  We have acres of landscapes where hiking, biking or walking are the best means of travel. Check out the Kingfisher Trail around Fermanagh and Cavan, the Great Western Greenway between Achill and Westport on the Wild Atlantic Way, the Waterford Greenway from Dungarvan to Waterford, and the Great Eastern Greenway around Carlingford Lough’s shoreline.

Reason 3:  We have ways to make you WWOOF in Ireland – that would be Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Become a member, and choose from helping out at a Nature Trail near Doolin, at a stables and farm caring for horses, or tending to the organic fruits and vegetables on a rural farm – all in exchange for expertise, food and accommodation, of course!

Reason 4: We have ways you can dine out – or forage, to be precise! With Slow Adventure Northern Ireland, join William McElhinney and Annie Mullan on a tour of the Butterlope family farm in the Sperrins. Under their guidance, you can pick up ingredients for lunch and take in a cooking demonstration. Over in Mayo’s Killala, meanwhile, Denis Quinn of Wild Atlantic Cultural Tours brings you foraging for food before you feast on what you’ve found! Delicious!

Reason 5: We have ways to soak you in seaweed! Over a century ago, coastal farmers who used seaweed to fertilise their soil also found they suffered less from sores on their hands – and the idea of a seaweed bath was born. Proven to contain strong antioxidants and healing properties, this truly is nature working its magic. Soothe your aches and pains at Voya in Sligo’s Strandhill, or SOAK Seaweed Baths in Newcastle, County Down.