Follow in the footsteps of Northern Ireland’s trail-blazing sustainability heroes.
Castle Espie Wetland Centre
“We’re committed to resource efficiency and creating a circular economy. We strive
to eliminate, reduce, reuse, or recover waste through composting and recycling. We try to think differently too, not to see materials as waste, but as opportunities to repair, use in other ways or share if it’s something we no longer need.
We also used authentic, locally sourced materials in our building and installed a wind
turbine for our electricity. In fact, we now generate more than we need. So the surplus goes back onto the grid for others to use.”
When the site had its makeover, the original Castle Espie buildings were insulated and re-used in the new design – saving the energy that producing new building materials would normally use.
In addition, Castle Espie installed solar panels which provide 10-20% of their Plant Room’s hot water. Filtered rainwater is used to flush the toilets and the wastewater treatment garden was one of the first to be built in Northern Ireland. Almost 20 years ago.
Gosford Forest Park
“As always when developing green spaces, engaging with the local community was paramount. It was essential that they felt they had meaningful input into the development of ‘their forest’.
You cannot overestimate how important connection with the community is. When done right, local people become ambassadors for the project and enhance your visitors’ experience.”
For Gosford Forest Park, ensuring both tourists and local people would feel at home there was key. So, as well as sharing initial design ideas with the community and taking their feedback on board, they also took advice on play areas from the real experts – the local schoolchildren. Classroom sessions, walks in the wood and craft days set the children’s imagination loose and inspired the creation of an outstanding inclusive and green family experience.
OM Dark Sky Park & Observatory
“The Dark Sky Park has brought the community together and that’s the main thing for me. There’s a pride. It’s also been an economic generator for the region. These facilities weren’t here. Before, people might have stopped off at Beaghmore Stone Circles, but it certainly wasn’t a staycation. We’re now known as a wee mini destination up in the Sperrins and this has all evolved through green tourism and through the Dark Sky Park.”
The only accredited International Dark Sky Place in Northern Ireland, Davagh Forest in the Sperrin Mountains is known for its lack of light pollution. It’s now on a mission to get the world to turn down the lights, though that’s not the only way they’re protecting our world.
An area of outstanding natural beauty, building in the forest had to be sensitive to its surroundings. Planting a sedum roof, using sustainable materials for its Solar Walk boardwalk and an eco-friendly heating system all preserve the nature of the site. While its dark night sky and observatory offer a magical experience to visiting stargazers.
Erne Water Taxi
“Having spent many great days exploring Fermanagh, sailing, kayaking and fishing, I was inspired to showcase my beautiful homeland and wanted to give visitors the chance to become immersed in the spectacular lake-land landscape of Lough Erne. Now, our new Island Discovery boat offers visitors a silent, all-electric eco-friendly motor experience and is the best way to appreciate the views and hear the distinct sounds of our waterways.”
Erne Water Taxi gives guests a completely unique experience. An opportunity for visitors to connect with nature and enjoy an outdoor adventure off the beaten track. It inspires travellers to imagine Lough Erne’s ancient landscape through stories, told by knowledgeable guides who are passionate about their topic. A fascinating journey that transports visitors back through time in a spectacular setting.
The Salthouse Hotel
“Our promise is coastal calm in a luxury eco setting, inspired by nature and the best traditions of the area. Our purpose is to connect our guests with the great outdoors, in a landscape shaped by the salt production that gives the hotel its name.”
A carbon negative hotel, the Salthouse is a stunning example of sustainable accommodation that delivers on every level. They’ve used materials sourced within the region to deliver a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of modern day living. With natural seaweed baths for total rejuvenation.