Environmental/Responsible Tourism Policy
O’Neill Holiday Homes, Ardrahan, Co.Galway.
O’Neill Holiday Homes aims to be a responsible tourism operator by using good environmental and social policies to underpin the family-friendly ethos of our self-catering cottages. It is our aim to exceed our visitors’ expectations. We believe that interaction with our guests and the personal touch is most important. We hope to give our visitors a unique and memorable experience of the landscape and people of South Galway.
Implementation of our Environmental Policy
We are conscious of the environmental impact each and every one of us has on the environment. We are committed to providing the best possible service to our guests, while at the same time minimising the impact of our activities on the environment.
At O’Neill Holiday Homes we:
- Adhere to good environmental practices.
- Adhere to Environmental law.
- Aim for sustainable environmental improvement yearly.
- Adhere to the Leave no Trace policy (www.leavenotraceireland.org).
- Protection of heritage sites.
- Protection of wildlife on property.
- Bat protection.
- Recycling of glass, cans, and plastic. Compost bins on-site for organic waste.
- Eco friendly cleaning products.
- Eco friendly soaps and shampoos.
- Towel policy (leave used towels in bin provided).
- Green Electricity supplier (Airtricity).
- Aerated waste-water treatment system (Bio-cycle).
- Rain water harvesting for garden and poly tunnel.
- High efficiency gas boiler for heat and hot water.
- LED low energy light bulbs.
- Temperature control thermostats and timers for heat/ water use.
- Solar panels in both main houses.
- South-facing common room.
- Double glazing on window and doors.
- Welcome pack of local produce and fair trade products.
- Give the Car a Rest: we provide information on public transport (rail and bus) and will drop off and collect guests.
- We can store bicycles safely, and provide some for use on request.
Business action areas:
Support Local community Projects and businesses
We strive to contribute to the local economy by participating in local initiatives, and having membership of Community Alert, Local Playground Group, Local Festivals Committee, Tidy Towns /Biodiversity Group, Heritage Group, and support local Farmers Markets.
We support local non- profit organizations such as:
Burren Beo (www.burrenbeo.com)
Birdwatch Ireland (www.birdwatchireland.ie)
Galway Bat group (www.batconservationireland.com)
Lady Gregory and Yeats Heritage Trail Group (www.ladygregoryyeatstrail.com)
All of whom are committed to conservation and appreciation of the local environment. We provide information through books, maps and pamphlets to our guests to encourage awareness of the unique landscape that surrounds us. We invite our guests to join with us in activities/workshops on-site which involve art, music, and food on special occasions.
Cooperation with other responsible businesses
We maintain contacts with other responsible businesses in our area. The aim of this is to support one another and create awareness to our clients of the opportunities to interact with these providers while in our area. We have actively helped to accomplish this by working with the EcoTourism Ireland and Galway Rural Development education network.
We take a progressive approach to the way we monitor our business, so we plan to evaluate our impact on the environment annually in order to improve on our achievements, and so that we may continue to operate in a sustainable way. Our aim for the future is to achieve certification as an eco- tourism destination through EcoTourism Ireland. In 2012 we obtained a certificate of achievement from this body, having successfully participated in the EcoTourism Awareness Training Programme. This course incorporated the following:
- Environmentally sustainable practices.
- National area focus.
- Interpretation and education.
- Contribution to conservation.
- Benefiting local communities.
- Visitor satisfaction.
- Responsible marketing and communication.
- Cultural respect and awareness.