Connemara is a rural area located on the Atlantic Coast of Ireland. It now faces the impact of Covid-19 on its people and markets. Sustainabily diversifying into new products, services, activities and offers for local people, visitors and global markets provides a way to reposition Connemara for the future..
Connemara already has many businesses and organisations focused on encouraging, developing and supporting environmentally sustainable business and social activities. Their experience is a key local resource in ensuring Connemara can innovate and thrive in the post Covid period.
Preserve the natural, cultural and social assets of Connemara through an appropriate mix of physical management, documentation and digitisation. Connemara has a special importance in that it is the last major stronghold of the Irish language. It also has cultural, social and economic artefacts that stretch back over 8,000 years. Their preservation is not just of local importance but are critical to maintaining the national cultural resource pool for generations to come.
Market Connemara and support business in sustainably exploiting and benefiting from the natural, cultural and historical resources of Connemara. Generate and recognise the support and sponsorship from Connemara businesses for local initiatives and projects focused on artefact preservation and their productive use in the Connemara economy. Educate both visitors and Connemara residents to the nature, vulnerability and value of its natural, cultural and historical resources.
Locally Innovate to create new sustainable products, services, activities and businesses that offer quality employment and high value year round economic benefit to the area. Work with local, national and international groups and bodies to establish and maintain, up to date, Connemara based sustainability skills and resources.
Clifden ecoBeach Campsite is Ireland's first ecological natura Climate Neutral venue. This is a self funded eco camping site that has won multiple awards for its sustainable policies and practices. In development since 2003 it set a european precedent in 2016 by banning the use of single use plastic bottles. The commercial viability of their approach is evident in that EcoBeach enjoys full occupancy all through the entire season, has high rates of return visitors and significant numbers of recommendation based new customers. The site is particularly noted for its policies and practices on Energy Sourcing, Use of Energy, Solid Waste disposal, Water Sourcing, Waste Water, Detergents and disinfectants, Greenhouse gases, Noise Pollution, Light Pollution, Facility runoff, Erosion, Ozone depleting compounds, Air and soil contaminants, Natural Area Focus, Interpretation and Education, Contributing to Conservation, Benefiting local communities, Visitor Feedback, Responsible marketing, Cultural respect and awareness, Sea shore maintenance, Natural Surface management, Occupancy level management, Flora and fauna monitoring.
In 2016 Inishbofin become the first Irish island to receive the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Ecotourism award. Among the activities that helped to secure the certification are birdwatching, nature photography holidays, self-guided walking, angling trips, sailing, horse riding and stand-up paddling. Inishbofin, in order to win the award had to satisfy the definition of sustainable tourism by having an interdisciplinary, holistic and integrative approach. This consisted of 4 main objectives: 1) to demonstrate sustainable destination management, 2) maximize social and economic benefits for the host community and minimize negative impacts, 3) maximize benefits to communities, visitors and cultural heritage and minimize impacts, 4) maximize benefits to the environment and minimize negative impacts. Various business, community and island wide projects and initiatives are being operated to ensure the maintenance and expansion of the sustainable tourism resources available on the island.
Connemara Mountain Lamb comes from a third generation sheep farm owned by the same family since 1902 in Leenane Connemara. The lamb is certified organic, free range over mountains, by the sea, fed on a healthy diet of bog heather and organic meal. The farm is on the Maumturk mountain range within a Special Areas of Conservation which means sheep numbers are limited. Over 900 ewes roam the 500+ hectares of IOFGA certified organic mountain land. Strict product labelling, input management, land use monitoring and reporting transparency are the hallmark of the sustainable practices of Connemara Mountain Lamb.