Two Clare restaurants have been recognised at the Michelin Star awards for their efforts in promoting and supporting sustainable practices.
Lisdoonvarna’s The Wild Honey Inn and Doolin’s Gregans Castle were commended for their efforts alongside three Galway restaurants who were awarded the brand new ‘Michelin Green Star.’
Kai and Loam restaurants in Galway City were selected, along with the Inis Meáin Restaurant and Suites on the Aran Islands. They are the only Irish restaurants to be given the new accolade, out of a total of 23 businesses selected in Ireland and in the UK.
The Michelin Green Star “highlights restaurants at the forefront of the industry when it comes to their sustainable practices and who act as role models to us all”. These restaurants hold themselves to ethical and environmental standards “and work with sustainable producers and suppliers to avoid waste and reduce or even remove plastic and other non-recyclable materials from their supply chain.” The Michelin Guide outlines that 46 restaurants across the UK and Ireland have also been identified as taking positive steps to work in a greener way, and their listings come with one-line descriptions of some of their initiatives, with the Wild Honey Inn and Gregans Castle being listed here.
Commendation was offered to both restaurants in relation to their commitment to sustainable gastronomy. The initiative listed under Gregans Castle was being a “founding member of The Burren Ecotourism Network,” which is a network of tourism enterprises with the objective of establishing the Burren as a premier internationally recognised sustainable tourism region.
Their environmental policy states that they “take the potential negative effects on the environment that the activities of our business can cause very seriously.” As members of The Green Hospitality Programme which is the only Irish developed environmental certification standard for the hospitality sector, Gregans Castle have taken several actions to minimize their environmental footprint.
These include: Food waste and waste office paper collected for composting, all garden waste is composted and then reused in the garden. All heating and hot water is generated by new and efficient combi condensing gas and oil boilers. An energy usage monitoring system, is in place as well as low energy led and halogen light bulbs and their timber is trimmed from their own trees for firewood.
“We bottle our own water from our own private mountain spring for use in our bedrooms and restaurant. All glass bottles are reused. The same mountain spring supplies the hotel. We use an onsite natural reed and willow bed treatment system which purifies all wastewater generated by the hotel. We have an established herb garden for use by our kitchen. In 2019 we established a vegetable garden. Each year we carry out a clean-up of litter from Corkscrew Hill,” they added.
Under the Wild Honey Inn, Michelin Guide stated that the environmental initiative worthy of commendation was the fact that “Electricity is from wind farms and cooking gas is 100% renewable BioLPG.” This personally run inn that started life as an 1860s hotel is also a One Star Michelin Pub.
Their environmental policy states: “Our aim is to positively impact the community in which we operate through energy-efficient practices and environmental education, while maintaining high-quality services to our guests. We acknowledge the need for responsible and sustainable environmental management at all levels and will strive to incorporate good environmental practices into all of our decisions and operations.”
The Wild Honey Inn also monitor and record their environmental impacts on a regular basis and set targets to continually improve their sustainability. This includes low energy lighting, water waste notices to guests, toiletries used in bathrooms are free from parabens, phthalates or artificial colours as well as working with suppliers to reduce and reuse packaging on all products supplied, to name a few.
Conservation also lies at the hear of their policy whereby “We have created a natural biodiverse garden free of chemicals and pesticides. To encourage birds, insects and wildlife into the garden we have installed birdfeeders, bug boxes and planted native flowers and shrubs. A portion of the proceeds from the purchase of toiletries we use in our guest bathrooms supports honeybee and sustainable pollination research.”
“We are committed to making our guests and staff aware of environmental issues and the responsibilities they have to the environment, through guest information and communication and by induction, meetings and training of our staff,” they added.