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One of the many spectacular views that greet walkers in the Burren.

Clare’s tourism jewels highlighted in awards

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THE Burren Ecotourism Network was one of the main winners in the Irish Independent’s ‘Reader Travel Awards, taking the green light award for sustainability’.

The judges applauded the network for it’s “contribution to sustainable tourism” which they said helped “make Ireland a greener destination and inspirational example”.

Made up of 62 tourism enterprises, from cheesemongers to carbon-neutral hotels, the network’s efforts to conserve the area through training, initiatives and a code of sustainable practices was applauded.

“The members promote initiatives like community clean-ups and each business gives out Burren Bags — tote bags that can be filled with rubbish found when guests are out exploring,” the judges said.

They added that businesses can also adopt hedgerows and undergo biodiversity training, and support the Burren Pine Project, which aims to restore Ireland’s only native pine species, previously believed to have been extinct.

Jarlath O’Dwyer, CEO of the Burren Ecotourism Network said: “We’re proud of the fact we’ve mobilized the community with our regular litter picking and beach clean-ups. There’s always a great turnout, not just from our members, but also from people in the community as well. That’s a sign that people really want to protect the area.”

The Falls Hotel was also noted for its green initiatives, not least powering the hotel from its own hydroelectric turbine.

The hotel was commended for setting up an in-house green team who have undertaken projects such as native tree planting and chemical-free cleaning.

Lahinch, meanwhile, was voted in the country’s top 10 beaches by Independent readers.

“There is so much to do there, whether you want to go for a nice walk or a surf experience, this is the place to go,” readers noted

Sean and Elaine Lally of The Woodstock Hotel in Ennis were feted as tourism heroes for their series of social media videos made during lockdown.

https://youtu.be/ZCw3xDjEwVI

The husband and wife team poked fun at themselves in a number of hilarious videos that achieved great traction on social media.

“There is nothing spectacular about us,” said Mr Lally, “but we’re hands-on and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

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