If you’re trying to be a more sustainable traveller and heading to the Emerald Isle on your next holiday then keep reading as we give you the lowdown on ecotourism in Ireland!
Ireland is a hugely popular tourist destination and with good reason! The scenery is incredible and it has it all from beaches to rural villages to quaint towns full of character. The north, east, west and south all offer something a little different too when it comes to scenery AND local accents. It’s definitely one of best summer holiday destinations around whether you’re travelling with friends, family or on honeymoon!
Also, the locals are super friendly and this makes a trip to Ireland super special in our books with two Irish cities – Dublin and Galway – making the list of the world’s ten friendliest cities in 2016 as awarded by Conde Nast Traveller.
On the downside the weather can be unpredictable to say the least, meaning it’s hard to know what to pack whatever month you arrive in and it can also be hard to plan your activities not knowing whether to expect rain or shine…But anyway that’s the adventure of Ireland. We genuinely hope you get sunshine on your trip there!
Anyway whether you’re planning for a seven day trip to Ireland or want to head there for a month and whatever the weather we’re here to help you plan your trip in a more sustainable way. Today travellers to the country have the choice to minimise their impact on the planet by choosing the eco way to travel. So keep reading and we’ll show you how to be as eco-conscious as possible!
Ecotourism in Ireland – The Ultimate Guide to being a Sustainable Traveller in the Emerald Isle
If you really want to be a sustainable traveller during your trip to Ireland then you should take into account accommodation. Today there are a number of hotels, hostels and air bnbs committed to sustainability so commit yourself to the search to find the best place for you depending on budget.
When you’re in Ireland you’ll definitely want to try the local food which is very hearty and filling – think hot stews, various meat dishes with potatoes, Guinness Pie and fry ups with sausages, rashers, egg and beans for the breakfast. Whatever you choose to eat do your best to think of ways to be as responsible a traveller as you can be and therefore as zero waste as possible when doing so. For example, if you’re eating at a restaurant we recommend you sit down to eat your food so you avoid any unnecessary packaging that comes with taking food away (unless of course you’ve come with your containers in tow!)!
If you’re on a budget, it’s important to note that restaurants in Ireland are generally quite expensive when compared to other countries. On the flip side, it’s pretty cheap to buy from supermarkets and cook your own food which will be a good option if you’re staying in a hostel with a shared kitchen or an air b n b. In this case, do your best to limit your plastic waste.
Ecotourism in Ireland
Keep your eye out for goods in minimal or no packaging and carry around a reusable bag always. You may notice in popular supermarkets like Tesco or Aldi it’s hard as most things are wrapped in plastic but Ireland has planned to make efforts over the coming years to reduce plastic packaging.
We also recommend trying to eat vegan or vegetarian as much as possible as this type of diet is much better for the planet. If you do want to eat vegan or vegetarian do your research online before heading out because not every restaurant has a varied menu for vegans or vegetarians. Read our article on the best vegan restaurants in Belfast here or in Cork here.
Remember that just a few meals a week with veggies instead of meat can make a little bit of difference to your carbon footprint.
Eco friendly activities
1.Surfing – Ireland is famous for its waves on the north and west coast. If you’re an avid surfer or keen to learn we definitely recommend you give it a go. Of course the waters may be a bit colder than more luxurious destinations like – ehm Hawaii – it’s still a pretty epic place to hop on a board – in an extra thick wetsuit of course!
2. Hiking – Ireland is famous for its nature and there are loads of incredible places to for a hike such as Howth or the Wicklow mountains which aren’t too far if you’re staying in Dublin city.
3. Hit the beach – Irish beaches are incredible and have such naturally raw beauty. There is nothing like a good walk on an Irish beach and breathing in that super fresh air – a real treat for those lungs! Check out this photo of the beautiful beach of Curracloe in Co. Wexford on Ireland’s southeast coast.
4. Yoga – A great eco-friendly option for a trip to Ireland is to take part in a yoga retreat. Although you may be more likely to associate relax and unwind yoga retreats abroad with countries such as a yoga retreat abroad with countries such as Thailand,Bali or India there are loads of options in Ireland and you can read about them in our article here.
On that note, you may also like our article on the best yoga retreats for eco conscious travellers.
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5. Learn about Irish history by visiting some old ruins and castles
Irish history is so rich and exciting. There are loads of great spots you can visit to feed your thirst for knowledge such as Newgrange and some of the 30,000 ruins and castles in Ireland!
6. Take a boat out to some islands – ‘re already on an incredibly beautiful island but there a heap of various smaller islands dotted around Ireland’s coasts that you absolutely must visit. Check out the Aran to the west or the uninhabited, serene Saltee islands in the country’s southeast.
Eco friendly shopping
It’s quite hard to avoid products wrapped in too much plastic in Ireland at the moment but we have our hopes that in the years to come this won’t be a problem as the governments and companies are trying to work on this.
There are also a number of businesses in Ireland trying to help the planet. If you are in Dublin there are a number of shops that offer zero waste options. You can read our article about the fantastic zero waste shop in Derry, Northern Ireland here.
Dublin on a sunny day
Eco friendly transport
Well, there’s no way to get around it – Ireland is an island so it’s difficult to get there without flying (of course there are some boat options from France and the UK). The aviation industry is rather small when you compare it to other industries but its impact on the environment is huge. Read our article on the 7 best tips to reduce your carbon footprint from flying here.
Once you’re there, if you’re trying to save the planet and contribute to ecotourism in Ireland then public transport is the best option. On the flip side however it is honestly quite difficult to get around the countryside if you don’t have your own car. You’ll have to weigh up your options and see what’s right for you.
If you’re staying in the cities such as Cork, Dublin or Belfast there are plenty of bus services (in Dublin there’s a tram line called the Luas) and Irish cities are generally quite small so walking around is another option. It’s also possible to get around the country on public transport with a number of private bus companies operating various routes and the public bus company Bus Eireann also offering the most popular journeys. Similarly there’s a train service operated by Iarnrod Eireann.
Refill your reusable water bottle
The water in Ireland is safe to drink! Carry around a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated and fill it up wherever you go. It’s handy if at your accommodation you have access to your own tap. But if you’re on the road don’t hesitate to ask in bars, restaurants and cafes if you can get a refill.
Did you know that a million plastic bottles are sold each minute around the world? Let’s get that figure down – way down!
Watch our video of two Irish girls in Vietnam trying to fill up their water bottle here.
Interesting Facts about Ireland
The reason the world celebrates Halloween is in fact thanks to the tiny nation of Ireland. Over the centuries Irish people celebrated summer’s end with the Celtic holiday, Samhain. Over the years Samhain has become the holiday we know today as Halloween.
Although everybody associates the Irish with red hair in fact only 9 percent of the population are naturally redhead. Visitors to the country might be surprised to see such a small number of people with red hair.
Over the decades European countries have competed every year to win the famous Eurovision song contest – famous for introducing the world to Abba and other huge acts. Ireland holds the record for winning the most number of times. They became the first country to win three times in a row and have won it sevent times in total – the country’s musical talent is clear.
Ireland was for a long time one of the very few countries in the world that didn’t have a system of postal codes, making it a headache for Irish people to order things online when a postal code was required for every single purchase! The country has now introduced a new postal code system but very few people know their postal card off by heart given the many years without them and don’t bother adding them to their letters.
Ireland has two official languages – English and Irish/Gaelic.
Ireland is divided into two parts with the Republic of Ireland in the south and Northern Ireland in the north. The divide goes back to early in the twentieth century when Irish soldiers fought against the repression of the British beginning with the Easter Rising in 1916.
The famous Titanic that we all know so well thanks to Jack and Rose was actually constructed in Belfast.
Irish people love their own sports. Hurling and Gaelic Football are hugely popular in the country.
For such a small country, Ireland has given the world a huge amount of talent. Saoirse Ronan, Cillian Murphy, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Farrell, Oscar Wilde, the group the Cranberries and Conor McGregor are just a few famous Irish people.
The longest river in Ireland is the Shannon.
Carrantouhill is Ireland’s highest mountain.
A few useful words in Gaelic are ‘Dia duit‘ – hello and ‘Conas ata tu?’ – how are you as well as ‘Ta me go maith‘ – I’m fine.
What did you guys think of our guide to ecotourism in Ireland? Do you have any extra tips we haven’t thought of? We’d love to hear from anyone whose been to Ireland, lives there or is planning on going. Comment below.
Cliffs of Moher
If you did enjoy the article and are planning other future trips then why don’t you check out our article on ecotourism in Thailand, another one of our favourite destinations (and the weather is definitely a bit better than in Ireland) – or maybe Vietnam (also quite high up the list when it comes to favouritism!).