Green Places to Stay in Northern Ireland

It’s hard to convince people to go to the North of Ireland sometimes, too many believe everything they read and see in the media. It is a rugged, weather beaten, beautiful, unspoilt territory that’s been rarely travelled.

Residents, though, know they’ve got a potential tourist goldmine on their doorstep and have been ready and waiting for the past 30 years.

Are you ready to ramble?

Omagh Hostel, County Tyrone

This friendly, family-run hostel near the Sperrin Mountains in County Tyrone is the most environmentally-conscious hostel you’ll ever come across.

The accommodation is not fussy or fancy but it’s clean, comfortable and welcoming and rates highly with eco travellers.

Greenie Points: Opened since 1991, Omagh Hostel is a working organic farm employing a number of sustainable and eco friendly practices, too many to mention them all but enough to achieve the coveted EU Flower Ecolabel.

Check out their website for more eco information.

Dorm beds
: £12 pp
Private Rooms: £15pp
Camping: £12 /tent

Downhill Hostel, County L/Derry

Overlooking the north coast’s longest beach and out towards the hills of Donegal is the lovingly restored Downhill Hostel. With dramatic cliffs behind and the Atlantic to the front, you’ll never get sick of the views.

It’s only a short walk to Mussenden Temple Gardens and a short trip to the nearby village of Castlerock to the north and Benone Strand to the south. Derry City is only 35 mins away by car.

There is a shared dining room, common room and laundry facilities and there are picnic tables is the garden for when the sun decides to shine.

Greenie Points: The Causeway Coast and Heritage Trust reports the owner paid great attention to sustainable practices when planning changes to the hostel.

Dorm beds: £12 pp
Private Rooms: £15pp
Camping: £12 /tent

Lusty Beg Island, Lower Lough Erne, County Fermanagh

Once a penitential retreat for monks, Lusty Beg is now a bird sanctuary and secluded romantic getaway for couples; it’s also very popular for outdoor weddings, groups and team building days away.

The little island, located in the northern tip of Lough Erne, is accessible by a small tin ferry pulled across the lake on a rope and there is nothing else on it but a bar and restaurant.

Stay in a chalet overlooking the tranquil lake, walk the nature trails or hire kayaks to investigate the area. The restaurant offers fine dining by candlelight at weekends and the Guinness is how it should be.

Few people stay on the island and few visit so lap up the solitude and enjoy.

Greenie Points: Dedicated bird sanctuary and protected nature trails on the island.

Cost: One night with dinner and B&B costs £69.95 pp, 3 nights B&B is £115 pp

Corralea Cottages and Activity Centre, Belcoo, County Fermanagh

If you’re one of those people who goes on holiday but still has to have a run in the morning run, Corralea is the place for you.

They specialise in eco breaks and have been around for years. Go caving underneath Fermanagh and Cavan (in the south), explore the nearby forest trails on mountain bikes and then canoe back to the centre or have a go at windsurfing on Upper Lough MacNean.

The cottages are set in a secluded woodland setting and are all self-catering. If you keep watch for long enough you might be lucky enough to see deer and otter around the site.

Greenie Points: Corralea has uses solar panels to heat water and employs strict environment criteria around the centre. It was also awarded an EU Flower Ecolabel.

See their website for more eco points.

Prices vary according to length of stay and time if year.

Copney Cottage, between Omagh and Cookstown

This cluster of traditional stone cottages at the foot of the Sperrins demonstrate Northern Ireland’s keenness to get away from the past and nurture the tourism industry that although much better, lags behind many other places in the world.

Each cottage is lovingly restored with traditional elements kept, like stone floors and half-exterior doors. The excellent Biodiversity Eco Trail is nearby.

Greenie Points:Copney Cottages use wood pellet stoves for heating and solar panels to produce hot water.

Prices start from £120 for 2 nights, £220 for one week

Anna’s House, Comber, County Down

For a wee lassie from the North, our Anna has done well for herself. Not only does she a luxurious B&B in an idyllic setting and boasts home-grown organic food but she also has a string of awards to her name; well, her house does anyway.

Set in 20 acres of land on the edge of a private lake, Anna’s House is a delight for anyone who has never been to the country but likes the finer things in life. Feel free to wander around the gardens, laze in the hammock or play the piano in the grand music room with panoramic views to the Mourne Mountains.

Greenie Points: As well as the organic produce, solar panels supply hot water and an innovative geo-thermal heating system directs energy from a field in front of the house for central heating. They even offer test drives of their duel fuel car. Now that’s hospitality.

Prices: Single Rooms start at £50pp, Doubles start at £80 pn