Eco-travel writer Catherine Mack has created a new iPhone app called Ireland Green Travel for people who want to locate the best green accommodation, activities and hiking exploits, as well as eco-friendly places to stay, on the island of Ireland. Fancy staying in an eco-castle or heading on a holistic yoga retreat?
With sustainability coming to the fore, this app, now available on iTunes, covers both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and features more than 120 entries on green places to stay – be it a grand house, a lakeside lodge or a yurt camp – as well as information on activities such as hiking, biking and canoeing.
Mack, who wrote a book called Ecoescape Ireland a few years ago, says the app will appeal to green travellers, as it has a ‘Slow Travel’ guide for visitors who want to get to and from Ireland without flying, providing information on local rail and bus services, as well as how to bring your bike on them, North and South of the border.
The app will also point you towards lakeside lodges, island retreats, grand houses with a green edge, yoga retreats, community-run hostels and activity centres, for instance. She says each accommodation entry has details on how to get to it without a car.
The idea for Ireland Green Travel came to Mack when she realised how her book Ecoescape Ireland needed updating, especially with the amount of green tourism initiatives springing up all over Ireland.
“It is very hard to find out all your options in one location at the moment, and the app has enabled me to do this. As this is how I usually travel, I know all the options pretty well by now, too.”
So what are some of the quirky, green activities that people can get up to here on Irish soil?
“You can stay in a yurt on the cliffs of Cape Clear; go on a yoga retreat in Leitrim, walk with a donkey from your cottage every morning to a riding centre in County Galway; or eat freshly picked periwinkles in a luxury resort on Inis Meáin,” she explains. “You can also ride a horse on the beach in Rathmullan, Donegal, walk the Wicklow Way, bathe in seaweed in Connemara and discover what’s beyond the Giant’s Causeway.”
Concludes Mack: “I was a bit resistant to the idea of writing a travel app at first as I am a battered old guidebook sort of a traveller, really. However, the joys of being able to update it whenever I want, and knowing that people who have bought it will get those updates straight away, was a revelation.
"Also, being able to link directly to train timetables, Google Maps, walking or cycling trails, YouTube videos, and adding as many photos as I want, all in one tiny screen, has made me wake up to greener travel guidebook options. This way, it will always be a work in progress and, hopefully, travellers can get to see all of Ireland’s ever-growing number of truly green gems, not just the emeralds.”