Lackan Cottage Farm is the first establishment in Northern Ireland to achieve Green Key due to its focus on sustainable operation
The self-catering accommodation is located in rural Northern Ireland around one hour from Belfast. It is a self-catering cottage and the owners, Steve and Claire, live on the farm as well. Birch Cottage has been beautifully renovated using chemical-free, natural materials, sourced as locally as possible. Steve and Claire love to recycle and many of the materials have been reclaimed and given a new life. All the bedding, towels and curtains are organic and fair trade.
Steve and Claire were delighted to be awarded the first Green Key in Northern Ireland, and the only one on the island of Ireland: “Green Key appealed to us because the commitment to rigorous standards really is the highest and reflects our own commitment to environmental responsibility. It is becoming increasingly apparent that we all have to work together to make changes to our way of life if we do not want to significantly compromise ours and our children's future. This is no longer a radical viewpoint, and as a family we are committed to demonstrating how those changes might look.”
Steve and Clair continues: “At Lackan Cottage Farm we show people that off-grid living does not mean compromising the living standards. Our guests often comment that they are inspired to take ideas that they have seen here back home with them. Because the Green Key standards are embedded in our every-day day lives here, people can see how they work in the real world, and are reassured by that."
Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful Chairman Sue Christie commented: “We are delighted to bring Green Key to Northern Ireland and to recognise the achievements in sustainability that local tourism businesses are attaining. Lackan Cottage Farm is a flagship of what can be achieved when businesses truly embrace sustainability. We hope to award more establishments, in all of the Green Key categories – Hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, etc. If your establishment would like to be rewarded for your sustainability performance, get in touch and we’ll help you on the path towards an award.”
Guests are very impressed with their stay at Lackan Cottage: "Birch Cottage took our breath away. Such a wonderful, functioning cottage. It was great to see that this way of life can be so eco-friendly. I'm sure this place has a positive impact on everyone who stays here. Thanks for teaching us how to be better towards planet earth!". "The cottage and your off grid small holding is a credit to you both! It just goes to show there is no reason why people can't live off grid and be self-sustainable".
The farm is powered entirely by renewable electricity, generated on site using solar and wind power. Hot water for washing and heating is powered by the sun, and by woodstoves, fuelled by timber cut in the farm’s woodlands. Water from baths and sinks is cleaned on-site, and for the adventurous, the farm provides a composting toilet as well as a rainwater flush toilet.
The kitchen and garden wastes are mixed with chicken and horse bedding and then used on the vegetable and fruit areas. The hosts have planted thousands of native trees on site, as well as an orchard. The carbon footprint of their visitors’ travel is offset by planting additional native trees every year.
You can find more information about Lackan Cottage Farm on their website. Green Key is now present with more than 3,000 establishments in 57 countries.