The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark’s status as a world-class food destination was further boosted on Thursday when three local businesses picked up awards at the 2015 Irish Responsible Travel & Tourism Awards.
The Cliffs View Café at the Clare County Council operated Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience and Hotel Doolin, both members of the Burren Ecotourism Network (BEN), were jointly awarded the Best Sustainable Menu Award. This is the first year the category has featured as part of the annual awards scheme.
Meanwhile, BEN member Seaview House B&B in Doolin picked up the award for Best Irish Breakfast.
The award successes come just days after The Burren Food Trail won the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) ‘Foodie Town 2015’ initiative beating off competition from the country’s top food destinations, including Clare’s own Loop Head Peninsula as well as The Boyne Valley, Derry, Kilkenny, Kinsale, Howth, Dungarvan, Sligo and West Cork. The Burren Food Trail was also named Irish winner of this year’s European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) award.
“These award wins are a credit to everyone associated with the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark and the Burren Ecotourism Network who have become leaders in sustainable tourism in this country in recent years,” commented Cllr. James Breen, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council.
“The promotion and development of the local gastronomy has taken a central role in the Burren’s tourism offering and as such is cementing the area’s growing status as a quality food destination,” he added. “This approach and created and sustained employment and provided a sustainable tourism product and reputation that will deliver benefits to Burren right throughout the year, and not just the peak tourist season.”
“I want to congratulate all of the local businesses for their efforts and success, as well as compliment Clare County Council for its ongoing support for the local tourism sector and the sustainable approach that has been adopted and nurtured throughout the Burren,” added the Cathaoirleach.
Katherine Webster, Director of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience commented: “The Burren’s successes of recent times did not evolve overnight but instead are the culmination of many years of collaboration and hard work by businesses in the region. The relationship between growers, producers, retailers and chefs working together to promote their destination as a whole is not reaping dividends for communities and tourism as a while across the Burren.”
“Our visitor centre café, located at the centre’s first floor level, offers a choice of dining experience for all visitors to the Cliffs of Moher and is complemented by the locally-sourced produce featured on the menu. This award win is especially satisfying in light of the recent investment in improvements to the Cliffs View Cafe, which features a menu that is befitting of one of the worlds most unique and beautiful tourism landmarks,” she added.
“Our award successes demonstrate that smaller businesses with restricted budgets can become leaders in sustainable tourism by developing a ground-up approach to promoting sustainable business practices,” stated Donal Minihane, Hotel Doolin General Manager.
“Through our Green Team led by Raquel Naboa, we make small changes where we can. The first step in this process was to make it part of your mission statement and then take sustainability and community into consideration in every facet of our operation. From the music in the pubs to the local produce on the plates, from the water in the bedrooms to the beer in the taps, our approach has also paid considerable dividends in terms of revenue, employment and bed nights,” he added.
“Hotel Doolin Head Chef Danny Craughwell is constantly adding local suppliers to our menus and considers himself blessed to be surrounded by a raft of independent, artisan suppliers here in the Burren, the Burren is now the top food destination now in Ireland as evidenced by the EDEN Award and the Foodie Town award and Hotel Doolin is delighted to be part of this and a proud member of the Burren Food Trail.
“Everything we now do relates to our mission statement – from the innovative wedding packages to the food we grow in our gardens, to the festivals we run and even our own Dooliner Beer,” concluded Mr. Minihane.
The 2015 Responsible Travel and Tourism Awards were announced during the 2015 Green Hospitality Conference in Dublin on Thursday. The awards are organised by GreenTravel.ie, GreenHospitality.ie and The Irish Hospitality Institute, and supported by The Marker, Fáilte Ireland and Hotel & Restaurant Times.