An environmental initiative in County Clare which aims to develop sustainable tourism across the Burren region has seen a surge in the number of local businesses taking part.
The businesses include a hotel harnessing all its electricity needs through hydropower to an artisan producer embracing sustainable farming practices.
The 70 members of the Burren Ecotourism Network that are currently signed up for the Geopark Code of Practice for Sustainable Tourism are actively monitoring and adapting their environmental performance, as well has helping to build sustainable communities.
“The growing network of businesses signing up to the code is reflective of Clare’s continued moves toward established as a truly sustainable destination and follows the recent announcement that the County has broken into the Top 40 of the Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Index, a sustainability benchmarking and performance improvement programme for destinations,” said Carol Gleeson, manager of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark.
Developed with EU LIFE funding, the Code is the only sustainable initiative of its kind in Ireland and in the network of 169 Geoparks spread across 44 countries.
The initiative is being funded by Clare County Council and is third party verified by the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark.
Burden Smokehouse is one of the small and medium enterprises that have taken steps to measure and manage their energy and water consumption, as well as increase their support for local producers, services and community groups.
Birgitta Hedin-Curtin, CEO/Owner of Burren Smokehouse said a major investment in sustainable environmental management has led to considerable energy savings for the Lisdoonvarna-based during 2023.
"Our solar panels commenced generating electricity in August,” said Hedin-Curtin.
"We have been monitoring daily contributions and have to date 3,430 KWh saving over €1,000 in the past three months.
"Our aim is to reduce our total electricity use from the grid by 30%."