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8 sustainable places to stay in Ireland
Enjoy a peaceful stay in one of the country's eco-friendly hotels.
Nicola BradyNicola Brady is a travel writer based in Dublin. She writes regularly for the Irish Independent, The Irish Times and Condé Nast Traveller, and has contributed to books on Dublin and Ireland for DK Eyewitness.
Sustainability has never been as important as it is right now. Whether you’re installing solar panels at home or planting bee-friendly flowers in the garden, living responsibly is something that a lot of people are prioritising. But you don’t need to abandon your eco principles when you’re checking into a hotel. All around Ireland, there are properties who’ve embarked on the sustainability journey, utilising green technologies, reducing their emissions and growing their own food – and receiving accreditations from sustainability bodies for their efforts. And while a lot of these actions take place behind the scenes, there are plenty of sustainability drives that make your stay a whole lot more pleasant, like wildflower gardens, free bike hires and even ‘green’ discounts.

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly place to stay in Ireland, here are some great hotels that are leading the way.

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1Ardilaun Hotel, Co Galway

Want to stay in a place where there’s a bit of a buzz? Well, that’s easy at the Ardilaun Hotel, where there are four beehives in their award-winning gardens (with six more on the way). The wildflowers and plants keep the colony of native black bees happy, and there are also bird and bat boxes spread around the grounds. They’ve just added a bug hotel too, to encourage insects and help with pollination.  

The garden isn’t just for the bees and bats, though. You can sit out on the Camilaun patio with a cup of coffee and watch local birdlife, or potter around to smell the seasonal blossoms and herbs. They’re not just decorative, either – the kitchen team use ingredients from the garden in cocktails and dishes served in the restaurant. 

The hotel also plays an active role in the community, supporting local non-profit organisations and sports teams, as well as hosting events that raise money for various charities.  

Exterior image of Ardilaun Hotel in County Galway
Check-in for a sustainable stay at the Ardilaun Hotel.
2Armada Hotel, Co Clare

When it comes to sustainability, much of the focus is on the environment. But social responsibility is just as important. At the Armada Hotel, they prioritise mental health and wellness, both for their guests and their staff. In fact, they have their very own Wellbeing Manager, who looks after the hotel team as well as guests, leading seaside strolls and activities. If you want to walk down for a dip at Spanish Point, you can avail of the ‘wet hair discount’ in the coffee shop (and discounts are also available if you bring a reusable coffee cup).  

Sit down for a meal in Aileen’s Restaurant or the Ocean Bar, and the ingredients on your plate will likely come from the hotel’s Armada Farm just up the road, where they grow much of the produce for the dining rooms. They use local seaweed as a natural fertiliser, and you’ll also find it in their own brand of gin.    

It's these kinds of ideas that helped to secure the Armada’s status as a BCorp, becoming the first hotel in Ireland to attain this renowned eco certification from the global non-profit that is the current benchmark for effective and sustainable practices.  

Spanish Point in County Clare
Savour beautiful views of Spanish Point from the Armada Hotel.
3Falls Hotel, Co Clare

With the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren UNESCO Geopark on their doorstep, it makes sense that the team at the Falls Hotel would want to preserve the natural environment. And they do so with gusto – much of their power comes from a hydroelectric turbine they installed on the River Inagh, which runs alongside the hotel. When it’s in full flow, this turbine provides 100% of their electricity. That project meant that not only did they became a carbon neutral property in 2021, but that they’re the only hotel in Ireland to generate their own source of sustainable fuel.  

Want to explore the local area? There are bikes available for guests to use, so you can cycle over to Lahinch without getting in the car. But if that seems like a bit too much effort, you can wander around the wildflower garden, or get a cup of fairtrade tea in the bar.  

Exterior image of the Falls Hotel in County Clare
Stroll through the wildflower garden at the Falls Hotel.
4Hotel Doolin, Co Clare

While sustainability is becoming increasingly mainstream, Hotel Doolin was an early adopter, appointing a ‘green manager’ back in 2012. Since then, this boutique hotel has made their mark as an eco-friendly pioneer – they harvest their own rainwater, grow vegetables in a polytunnel and became Ireland’s first carbon neutral hotel in 2019. In their Glas restaurant, there’s even a 30-mile menu, with all the ingredients sourced from within that radius.   

It’s a great spot for cyclists, too – arrive at the hotel on two wheels and you’ll get a 10% discount on your room, as well as a free cup of tea or coffee (fairtrade, naturally). If you arrive by electric car, you can make use of the onsite charging point, powered by green electricity.  

Weddings can be a bit of a sustainability black spot, but Hotel Doolin has made great strides in that arena. Rather than using a marquee, they built an Eco Barn, with a bar made from old whiskey barrels and lampshades made from fishermen’s eel baskets. And if you’re feeling teary during the ceremony, you can dry your eyes with a tissue made from recycled milk cartons.

A bedroom at Hotel Doolin in County Clare
Escape to Hotel Doolin, Ireland's first carbon-neutral hotel.
5Gregans Castle Hotel, Co Clare

Staying in a green hotel doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice creature comforts. At Gregans Castle Hotel in Ballyvaughan, there are open fires, jugs of hand cut flowers and cosy living rooms with stacks of books. But behind the scenes, there are numerous sustainable practices at play that give the property green kudos. 

Much of the food served in the restaurant comes from their own farm, there are free bicycles available for guests and even the paint on the walls is chemical free. They’ve also worked extensively to encourage native habitats, planting hundreds of trees on the grounds including the Burren Pine tree, which is under threat of extinction. Their efforts are paying off: take a walk around the gardens and you might spot one of their new residents, like a native red squirrel or a long-eared owl.

Garden at Gregans Castle Hotel.
Wander the garden at Gregans Castle Hotel.
6The Lodge at Ashford Castle, Co Mayo

One of the most important pillars of sustainability is the food we eat. Which is why the Lodge at Ashford Castle gets much of their produce from the estate gardens, which provide fruits, vegetables and herbs for both the lodge and the castle. The garden team grows everything using organic methods, and they also make their own compost from kitchen waste, as well as homemade fertilisers for the plants using fermented nettles. They have a seed saving system, and several bee hives on the estate that provide honey for guests (though they only take a small amount, so the bees have enough stored for winter).

In the summer months, you can take a guided tour of the gardens to see it all first-hand (and maybe snag a few fresh veggies to snack on, too). And if you pay a visit to the estate Falconry School, you can rest assured that the birds are well taken care of – all of the wildlife experiences at Ashford adhere to a strict Animal Welfare Policy.

The Lodge at Ashford Castle.
The Lodge at Ashford Castle prioritises farm-to-table dining with their organic garden.
7Granville Hotel, Co Waterford

With a history that dates back to the early 1700s, the Granville Hotel has long been a part of the scenery in Waterford. It’s also right by one of the city’s greenest attractions – the start point of the Waterford Greenway is just a couple of minutes away by bike. You can book a Greenway package that includes bike hire, but there are also a couple of complimentary bikes available for guests if you just want to potter around nearby. You can also organise a foraging trip with the Sea Gardener, where you’ll harvest seaweed and cook it all up for a beach picnic.

As well as switching to LED lights and monitoring water usage, the hotel has been actively reducing its carbon output with some creative measures. They donate their used wooden pallets to the local Men’s Shed, where they’re upcycled into toys and furniture, and there’s a herb garden on the roof where they grow mint for cocktails in the bar. 

The outside of the Granville Hotel.
Explore Waterford from your base at the Granville Hotel.
8Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone

Set on the banks of Lough Ree, the Hodson Bay Hotel overlooks peaceful waters, with swaying rushes and lake isles. So it’s only right that the hotel strives to maintain and protect these natural landscapes. They have their very own Hotel Green Team, dedicated to keeping things as sustainable as possible throughout every department, and they are participants of the Green Hospitality Programme, the hospitality and travel industry’s primary resource for sustainable and responsible tourism.  

They’ve also been developing Yew Point – 145 acres of unspoiled meadowlands and forestry right by the hotel – where guests can take a walk, enjoy mindfulness sessions or take a yoga class. They also have a vegetable garden, where they grow herbs, produce and edible flowers for the restaurant (and cocktail bar). 

People walking in Yew Point forest in County Roscommon
Explore the untouched grounds of Yew Point on your stay at the Hodson Bay Hotel.
Leave the car behind

Want to travel more sustainably? Browse our selection of car-free itineraries to help you explore some of the country's most popular locations, all while using public transport.  

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