Eco Tourism Policy at Doolin Cave
1. Environmentally sustainable practices
At Doolin Cave we are working towards a minimal environmental impact both underground and overground of all the activities carried out.
- Our policy is to ‘Reduce, Re-use and Recycle’
- We use cold lighting in the cave and low-energy bulbs in the visitor centre. Light are alwys turned off in areas when not in use.
- We bulk buy as much as possible. We have seperate bins for different materials. Paper, plastic and cardboard is re-used where possible and then re-cycled. Waste is composted and used as fertiliser
- We monitor enrgy consumption and try to find ways to reduce it.
- We make our own soups, breads, salads and cakes using local natural ingredients
- All our cleaning products are natural or eco-friendly
- All spending decisions are taken with a view to minimise environmental impacts.
- Water usage is monitored and kept to a minimum.
- Rain water is gathered and used for plants and animals
- The visitor centre has been built using low-impact, local and energy efficient materials
The main focus of the operation is the cave tour where visitors see a natural cave as formed over the milennia by water. Cave systems are hugely important to scientists in the study of rock formations, fossils, climate change, geological structures, etc. It is often only in caves that materials are left undisturbed, so we highlight the importance of cave systems and their conservation to our visitors.
The Nature trail as well as the local flora and fauna of rural Ireland.
We emphasise the significance of the Geopark status of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher by focusing on the earth science aspect of the Burren3. Interpretation and Education
Information panels in the Visitor Centre give visitors information on the origins of limestone, the Burren, cave formation and the history of the the exploration and opening of the cave.
We are part of the Burren/Cliffs of Moher Geopark and are working with them through Burren Connect erecting information panels along the nature trail explaing the earth science elements of the Burren landscape, e.g., dolines, a glacial valley fossils in the limestone, etc.
Our tour focuses on the delicate climate of caves and the importance of cave conservation. We encourage visitors to behave responsibly while in the cave by by not touching cave formations, not leaving litter, etc.
We run joint school tours with the Michael Cusack Centre where they focus on the over-ground elements of the Burren and we focus on the rock and under-ground elements.4. Contributing to Conservation
We consider ourselves to be temporary guardians of the Great Stalactite during our lifetime and we aim to pass it on to the next generation in as pristine a state as we found it. Careful management of the flow and condition of water and air through cave systems is commonly critical to the successful management of caves, so we monitor temperature and humidty in order to ensure that visitor numbers do not impact negatively on the cave. Heretofore, the Great Stalactite had no proper conservation plan in place and since opening Doolin Cave as a show cave, it now has a sustainable management plan in place.5. Benifiting local communities:
We recruit local staff which gives local employment
We are actively involved in local community organisations like tourism and heritage.
We sell and promote the work of local artists and crafts-people, e.g., potters, stained glass cards, etc.
We sell locally produced foods in our cafe,e.g., smoked salmon, goats cheese, ice cream, etc.
We promote other tourism operators in the area, e.g., ferries to the Aran Islands, Cliff os of Moher, Pitch and Putt as well as all the other tourist attractions in the Burren and North Clare.
We take part in any local iniatives that benifit Doolin and the burren,e.g., the new Burren signage plan and the Wild Atlantic Way.
We contribute food and support to local festivals like the Russel Week-end and the Winterage festival6. Visitor Satisfaction
We are committed to ensuring that every visitor to Doolin Cave is left with a better understanding of the underground world of the Burren and a sense of wonder at nature’s beauty.
We also allow people to get a close look at our native breeds of animals on th eNature Trail and let them get close and see them in their natural habitat. We encourage people to linger and relax and enjoy the views of the area by providing seating at strategic points along the way.
We provide fresh, local tasty food for their enjoyment in the cafe and have comfortable seating and books for them to browse through.7. Responsible marketing
We are working towards a paperless policy as regards marketing by use of our website, email, social media, etc.,for promotions. Our flyers are printed on both side and we are working towards printing them on re-cycled paper. WE use ‘Green Cartridge’ ink and recycled paper for all of our printing.Our website has eco information links and our eco policy.8. Cultural respect and awareness
We promote any traditional Irish music or hertiage events that are being held in the localilty.We do not impeas local residents access to historical archologically, culturally and spiritually important sites. We also invite local people to open days or visits to the cave so they can enjoy the natural heritage in thir area. We also have invited local children from the three national schools in the area for free trips to visit the cave, this educates them on the natural heritage in the area where they live.
Useful Eco-Tourism Links
Burren Eco-Tourism Network-www.burren.ie
Birdwatch Ireland – www.birdwatchireland.ie
Leave No Trace – www.leavenotraceireland.org
Wwoof Ireland – www.wwoof.ie
An Taisce (National Trust of Ireland – www.antaisce.org
Native Woodland Trust – www.nativewoodlandtrust.ie
Other non-for-profits we like:
Greenpeace – www.greenpeace.org
Friends of the Earth – www.foe.ie
World Wildlife Fund – www.wwf.org
Notice Nature Ireland – www.noticenature.ie
Other useful links:
GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) – www.gstcouncil.org
The International Ecotourism Club – www.ecoclub.com
The International Ecotourism Society – www.ecotourism.org