Sustainability and protecting our environment is at the centre of everything we do here at Currarevagh. We are essentially ‘off grid’ when it comes to water and sewage, so we take responsibility for our own needs.
Environment – Currarevagh is a wildlife and environmental sanctuary. 90% of our property, 180 acres, are classified as Level 5 European Special Area of Conservation. Lough Corrib SAC and SPA are Natura 2000 sites selected for rare and threatened flora and fauna across the European Union protected under the EU Habitats directive (92/43.EEC) and the EU Birds directive (79/409/EEC) and the European communities (natural habitats) regulations.
These regulations, while onerous on land owners, do provide for the protection of rapidly depleting nature. It would not cross our minds to harm the environment that we live in. It provides for the protection specifically on Currarevagh, amongst a long list of others – active raised bogs, Molinia meadows, calcareous fens, natural dry grasslands, old sessile oak woods and bog woodlands.
Wildlife Reserve - Amongst the wildlife still found here at Currarevagh that are protected under EU legislation due to their severe depletion of populations are: Freshwater pearl mussels, Brook Lamprey, Atlantic Salmon, Otters and Sickle Moss. Not as exciting perhaps as Lions and Hippos, but the reality is they are CLOSE to extinction also
The conservation objectives for our Lough Corrib Special Protection Area are to maintain the favourable conservation of a number of bird species, all listed as threatened. These include the following seen here at Currarevagh: Gadwall, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Scoter, Hen Harrier, Coot, Golden Plover, Common Tern. The wetland habitats here are crucial to the survival of these species.
Food – we work with as many local suppliers as possible which provides a sense of place when you eat with us, but also in a tiny way helps our fellow local small businesses. Anyone that farms or grows in Connemara does not do it for profit – there is none to be made - but for love and a way of life. Our tasting menu format each evening means we have very little food waste indeed, almost none – the bigger the menu a restaurant provides, the more waste there is, it is an inescapable fact. Any vegetable waste goes to the compost or our hens - and comes back as our own free range eggs.
Travel - We are quite remote: there is an inherent conflict in all our minds between the desire to travel and the carbon this act necessitates. Perhaps by staying at properties (like ours) that actively protect the very nature reserve they are located on and own, it allows the status quo to be maintained. If we did not run our small hotel then maybe we sell and it all gets turned into a golf course, or (I’m not sure which is worse) gets covered in Sitka Spruce forestry plantations. So if you choose to stay here then you really do help to maintain the undisturbed natural environment we are on. We offer a free pick up in our hybrid electric car from local bus and rail stations for guests staying 2 days or longer.
Water – not as big a problem in this part of the world as elsewhere. We get a lot of rain. But our proximity to Lough Corrib (the largest lake in the Republic of Ireland) means we have always lived with the immediate necessity of maintaining absolute pristine water supplies. Our own water supply comes from our own well on our own land; obviously it has never been treated with any chemicals at all - drinking water along with food prep areas are all filtered to 5 microns and pass through UV to eliminate any possible bacteria. This is checked regularly – the local council also runs their own tests twice a year as an oversight. We also have a water harvesting system on our roof.
Waste – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. We have no single use plastic; this is basic in 2020 of course. Our beautiful Irish made guest toiletries are presented in refillable pumps from The Irish Handmade Soap Company. Water is in refillable glass bottles etc and so on – all these measures we have been doing for years.
All our cleaning products are from Sonett. All their raw materials are completely biodegradable and free of synthetic fragrances, dyestuffs and preservatives, they are without any enzymes and petrochemical surfactants, contain no bleaching agents, and neither genetic engineering nor nanotechnology has been used. We get them in large returnable drums and decant into smaller reuseable bottles.
We aim for zero waste, a lofty ambition, but we are getting there: our ‘black’ waste (ie that for landfill) is now down to 350 litres per week when we are running a full house. This is roughly half again the size of a standard household refuse bin for collection -and of course we have 18 guests staying a night and all staff etc. All waste is sorted in house.
Septic – our own 3 chamber system which is well maintained (certified Oct 2019) and also a natural wetland system.
Energy – Constantly drive down our carbon emissions and the subsequent carbon footprint. This is now measured by using metrics from the Hotel Carbon Management Initiative, a resource provided by the International Tourism Partnership. It has allowed a template to be developed so carbon is regularly monitored using a consistent metric. We currently (2020) use Airtricity as our electricity provider, who produce electricity from 100% green sources – the overall mix in Ireland is a paltry 22% (2019).