Ecotourism Ireland – Ecotourism is “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people” (International Ecotourism Society)
Clare Ecolodge is proud to be an ecotourism destination in Ireland and strives to provide guests with an enjoyable, low impact, sustainable holiday centred around the natural beauty of Ireland’s landscape and the local culture and people of the countryside.
A holiday at Clare Ecolodge provides opportunities for guests to explore the natural landscape of Ireland, learn about the culture and history of its people, eat home grown, fresh food, and sleep in comfort, all with a minimal carbon footprint and maximum immersion in the community and outdoors.
The Environment & Our Policy:
Our environment is our home and we care for it with respect and thought. It is extremely important to us that our buildings, gardens and land are a safe and pleasant place for people and animals and where nature thrives. A visitor to Clare Ecolodge will be immersed in a natural and peaceful environment. Actions we have already taken to minimize our impact on the environment:
- At least 70% of our electricity is generated from an on-site 30 panel Solar PV system.
- We have installed an air to water heat pump system to heat all our water cutting out our reliance on oil.
- Our aim is to be 100% off grid and self – sustainable within 2 years. This includes central heating, water heating and electricity. We are currently 60% self-sustainable.
- We also aim to have electric car recharging units introduced within 2 years.
- Buildings are designed with large windows or skylights to allow natural daylight, reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day.
- Most light bulbs are energy efficient models. As older ones are replaced new energy efficient lighting will be installed.
- Windows are double glazed glass and are cleaned regularly.
- Additional Wind generated electricity is provided by Airtricity.
- Washing is air dried 90% of the time.
- Appliances are turned off when not in use.
Here is a link to our energy system: Clare Ecolodge Sunny Portal system
- Low flow shower heads, sink taps and toilets are installed in the common areas.
- Rainwater is harvested and used in the buildings where possible and for our gardens.
- More than 1 acre of vegetables and fruits are grown on the property, cultivated without pesticide or herbicide
- We plant in both the open field and in our polytunnel.
- We produce our own jams, sauces, chutneys, wine and cordials that can be preserved and used year round.
- Additional fruits and vegetables are locally sourced and organic (when possible)
- Cheese and free-range eggs are provided by local farms
- Mushrooms are foraged from the forest when available.
- Coffee and tea purchased displays the fair trade logo
- Food waste is composted
- Packaging waste is minimised by growing our own food, buying locally produced foods and buying in bulk.
- The Ecolodge uses only 24 wheelie bins per year and plans to decrease waste generation annually.
- Paper waste is composted or used as kindling
- All plastic, glass and tin is recycled
- Manure is composted and used as fertiliser in the garden and land
- We encourage all our guests to explore the surrounding countryside on foot or by bicycle.
- There are many local sightseeing attractions to see so this means reduced travel.
- Transports are arranged by bus or taxi with as many people as possible.
- Clare Bus operated from outside our front door.
- Farm bikes are provided free for guests to visit the immediate area
- For guests travelling on to other accommodation providers, we have formed partnerships with like minded people who will continue to uphold sustainable practices when guests stay with them.
Detergents and Cleaning:
- Eco-friendly cleaners are used for all cleaning and clothes washing.
- No fertilisers or pesticides are used in the garden or on the land
- Cloths are used instead of paper towels.
Staff and Guest Awareness:
- Ample information about our eco-friendly practices and current environmental issues is available on our web site.
- We practice what we preach.
- Guests are encouraged to walk or cycle through the local countryside.
- Some of our land is designated as a Special Protection Area for the hen harrier, a threatened bird of prey. Rare bog plants and hedgerows are preserved as hen harriers habitat.
- Bird houses have been placed around the Ecolodge.
- Native tree species are planted each year.
- We have an ever growing orchard with ancient Irish apple tress supplied by Seedsavers.
- We promote environmental awareness through practice.
- We are a case study example for sustainable rural Irish businesses.
- We take an active role in our community through entertainment events and outdoor activities.
The Loughnane family have been in East Clare for about 1000 years. The Ecolodge takes an active role and interest in the people and natural resources associated with our community and supports many of the residents within it directly and indirectly.
An ecotourism holiday at Clare Ecolodge involves the entire community. We employ local guides and holistic practitioners, we buy local products and we promote local businesses. We support local crafters, sports clubs, and tourist attractions, as well as hold events throughout the year that are open to the community. Guests are encouraged to interact with the community, visit it’s hidden gems, and spend time in the local pubs.
We provide information about the locality and written materials for our guests to learn about the rich history of this area. Our staff are also born and raised in the area and know a lot about the people and myths, and they are happy to share their knowledge for those interested. It is an area rich in history, not to be missed. We hope our guests will take the time to explore the wonders around them as there is much to be learned and experienced within a few miles of the Ecolodge.