Going Green: How Ireland’s Major Tourist Attractions Have Been Eco-Friendly

A bag of cheese and onions may not scream Tayto Crisps consistency, but the snack’s sponsored theme park is leading the pack as Ireland’s greenest tourist attraction.

Singing praiseworthy efforts of 100 percent green energy and water conservation and practicing a zero-landfill policy, Tayto Park’s sustainability efforts are indeed meeting a crisis.

The park says its biggest energy saver is its seasonal approach to opening hours, meaning its operation and energy consumption are directly linked to visitor demand. Its water conservation efforts include a water pipe network fitted with a series of meters to alert workers to leaks or running taps. It is self-sustaining supplied from natural water sources and treated on site.

Tayto Park is in the process of phasing out standard dustbins. These are to be replaced with solar-powered compactor bins, which reduce the site’s use of fuel for transportation and the possibility of attracting pests.

“We’ve switched to more sustainable options on our most used single-consumption items,” said Rachel Molloy, learning and discovery manager at the park. “Where possible, we promote and encourage reusable rather than disposable.

“We do not use any pesticides and are very proud to be supporters of new eco-friendly, non-lethal insect-elimination technology that helps us manage and relocate wasps.

“This wasp management system is a world-first to create an insect-free environment against wasps without using or killing harmful toxins. They are important pollinators within our ecosystem.”

We are determined to manage our heritage assets in the most sustainable way possible

The green efforts of Fota Wildlife Park have also proved to be a great success. As one of the nation’s leaders in wildlife conservation, it prides itself on its sustainable practices and eco-friendly ethos.

Since 2011, the reserve has initiated a series of sustainable practices that have reduced its contribution to landfills by two-thirds. Its recycling rates have increased ever since it introduced visitor green areas.

Food waste from its cafes and restaurants is now segregated and used for composting. By next year, the park aims to generate as much electricity as it uses, and aims to be completely carbon- and electricity-neutral by 2030. It participates in the European Endangered Species Breeding Program for many animals.

“This will foster continued growth and allow for more proactive change. Similar projects are needed in Ireland. It will encourage more natural eco-systems than simulated eco-systems,” said Sean McCain, Director of Fota .

The Office of Public Works (OPW) operates many of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, including the Kilmenham Gaol and the Newgrange Br na Boine Visitor Centre. It has said that it is “committed to minimizing the impact on the environment as far as possible and ensures this through its association with on-site concessions”.

The Kilmenham Gaol is protected by legislation that forbids the installation of solar panels or wind turbines. However, the OPW said it was “determined that we will manage our heritage assets in a sustainable manner as possible and has initiated a number of initiatives to that end”.

In Newgrange, staff maintain Wildflower Meadows and the “Bug Hotel” and educate visitors about the thriving biodiversity and wildlife. The grounds are managed in line with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan – a five-year roadmap that encourages pollinating insects and wider biodiversity to thrive.

Herbicides and insecticides are not used, and fences are fixed using coppice, hazel and willow cattle.

OPW has several measures in place to ensure that its attractions continue to operate.

“All of our cafe operators need to take steps to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastic, disposable, non-compostable cups and other packaging,” said press officer Dorothea Depner.

“This is a requirement in all of our tender documents for cafe operators.”

If we don’t have a healthy ocean, we don’t have a healthy planet

Operating within the sustainability sector has been a challenge for some of our surveyed group, but their efforts to be as green as possible deserve attention.

Sea Life Brea Aquarium does not own the aquarium building and is therefore unable to install facilities to generate electricity or harvest rainwater on its site. However, it has successfully overcame these obstacles.

It organizes regular beach cleans, has replaced all of its incandescent lightbulbs with LEDs, and has a water recirculation system. It does not use single-use plastic packaging in the gift shop and most of its items are made from recycled materials.

“If we don’t have a healthy ocean, we don’t have a healthy planet. You can do whatever you want on land, but you shoot yourself in the foot if you don’t take care of the ocean.” are,” said general manager Pat Salibhan.

The National Museum of Ireland does not maintain the grounds of its sites, but is in the process of improving its sustainability practices.

Last year, single-use plastic was completely removed from its sites. It has separate bins for recyclable and general waste and is currently working with waste service providers to introduce compostable segregation.

It said it is now examining the use of electric car-sharing services to reduce its reliance on the use of private vehicles, taxis and couriers, and to assess the feasibility of setting up electric vehicle charging points at several of its sites. is in process. ,

Encouraging clean transportation was a recurring theme in the group surveyed, and Westport House, Ko Mayo, was no exception. The Georgian-era resort offers bike rentals, a bike-to-work plan for its employees, bike repair stations, overnight laundry facilities for cycling tourists, and secure bike-parking facilities throughout the estate.

It is a well-known destination for cycling tourism and was officially certified by the European Cyclists’ Federation as Ireland’s first bicycle-friendly destination.

Electric vehicle charging points are available at Hotel Westport, and it is in the process of converting its fleet to electric power.

It has used no pesticides at all in the past year, a significant achievement in its 400 acres of parkland and gardens.

Some of Ireland’s new tourist attractions are already for sustainability-lovers.

Comprising 17 and a half acres of land, the Wildacres Inn at Wicklow is a nature reserve, sustainable honey farm, and biodiversity educational experience. Run by husband and wife Brian O’Toole and Gilly Taylor, its mission is to create a home for some of Ireland’s “endangered” native wildlife.

The habitats we build are thriving and the wildlife is responding so positively

Since the establishment of the reserve in 2017, the couple have devoted their time to biodiversity restoration, conservation, monitoring and education.

Under the advice of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, the reserve allows its four acres of flowering meadows to regenerate naturally.

This means they do not plow, harrow, disperse large amounts of seed or disturb the soil.

Trees and shrubs have been planted along the river, which had disappeared due to erosion. These “riparian zones” create a habitat for wildlife, which encourages it to thrive in its natural environment.

“The habitats we have built are thriving and the wildlife is responding so positively. We are monitoring a wide variety of species so that we can measure the results,” Ms Taylor said.

“What we hope to achieve going forward is to inspire others to do what we are doing so that there are thousands of forested acres across the country, in people’s backyard gardens and outdoor spaces, given to nature. be in a large part of the land that has been lost.”

At K2 Alpacas, Joe Whelan – better known as Alpaca Joe – has been running the Alpaca Experience in Wicklow, Newtown, Mount Kennedy, since 2017. Its aim is to run the business “as efficiently and environmentally friendly as possible”.

Mr. Whelan’s business model includes alpaca treks, alpaca therapy, alpaca-for-hire and self-catering cottages. The newly opened cottages are built from old buildings with reclaimed stone and roof slate that they have replaced.

These feature an air-to-water heat exchange system, underfloor heating that operates at short use times, and triple glazing for enhanced durable insulation.

Alpaca require annual shearing, and the hair collected is used to make pillows, mattress toppers, and yarn.

“It is a very sustainable business, it is good for the animals, it is good for us, and it is good for the environment. Alpaca themselves are very eco-friendly,” said Mr. Whelan.

When we reached out to the Dublin Zoo and Guinness Storehouse to ask for their input, no one was available to take our survey.

tayto park

100 Pcs Green Energy

Water is harvested and treated from self-sustaining, natural local water sources and treated for use

Promotes and encourages reusability rather than disposable

Sea Life Bree Aquarium

beach cleaning

Replaced all LED lighting fixtures with incandescent lightbulbs

Water recirculation system is available for all tanks

Fota Wildlife Park

It has reduced its contribution to landfills by two-thirds

It plans to generate as much electricity as it uses by 2023

Commendable conservation effort – two of three female bison recently released into the wild in the English county of Kent came from fota

Westport House


View of Westport House, Westport, Co Mayo

Have not used pesticides in last one year, despite maintaining 400 acres of land

Multiple biking facilities including bike rental, overnight laundry and bike repair stations for cycling tourists

It has electric vehicle charging points and is in the process of converting its fleet to electric.

K2 Alpaca

Its cottages feature an air-to-water heat exchange system, underfloor heating that operates over short usage times, and triple glazing for superior durable insulation.

Alpaca are efficient grazers, so there is no need for pesticides and herbicides

Alpaca do not require heating, and can be left outside year-round.

National Museum of Ireland


Gold Sailing Ship Artifact, National Museum of Ireland

Completely removed single-use plastics from their sites since 2021

Currently working with waste service providers to introduce compostable segregation

To examine the use of electric car sharing services to reduce their dependence on the use of private vehicles, taxis and couriers.

public works office


Cell rows at an OPW site at the Kilmenham Gaol, Dublin

Cafe operators need to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastic, disposable non-compostable cups and other packaging

Newgrange’s fence is fixed using kopis, hazel and willow wattle.

“Committed to reducing the impact on the environment as much as possible” at the Kilmanham Gaol

Wildacres Nature Reserve

Under the advice of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, the reserve allows its four-acre long flowering meadow to regenerate naturally

Its “riparian zones” create a habitat for wildlife, which encourages it to thrive in its natural environment.

Its mission is to create a home for some of Ireland’s “endangered” native wildlife.