SUSTAINABLE GALWAY2019-01-11T15:30:44+00:00

Galway ranked in the Top 20 of the Global Destination Sustainability Index 2018/19

Galway named as one of the greenest cities in the world to host a business event

Galway has been ranked as one of the top cities on the latest Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Index, a rating system designed to recognise responsible practices in the business tourism and events industry.

Entering the Index for the first time, Galway has been ranked in the top 20, with other Irish cities and regions also being recognised for their green credentials. Dublin jumped from 27th place in 2017 to 24th place this year. Cork was ranked in 30th place, while Limerick and Kerry ranked 36th and 37th place respectively.

Global Destination Sustainability Index Rankings are designed to help MICE planners choose progressive destinations with top sustainability credentials. The Index is compiled by measuring and comparing the social and environmental sustainability strategies, policies and performance of participating cities around the world.
Galway Convention Bureau, which lead the city’s application, welcomed the news: Rose Finn, General Manager of Galway Convention Bureau said “we are delighted to break into the top 20 destinations in our first year. We can now market Galway as the most sustainable destination in Ireland to the global events industry which may help secure future sustainable conference business to Galway”.

Sam Johnston, Manager of Convention Bureaux of Ireland at Failte Ireland, added: “Congratulations to Galway Convention Bureau on their successful application for the city to be officially recognised for its outstanding green credentials in hosting business meetings and events. At Fáilte Ireland, we were delighted to support this application as well as those from Dublin, Cork, Kerry and Limerick/Shannon. The fact that every region has ranked on the Index is testament to our sustainable approach to developing business tourism across the country. We will continue to strive towards the highest standards of sustainability in everything we do, and hope to rank even higher in future years.”

Galway the first Irish City to win European Green Leaf Award 2017

As part of the Emerald Isle, Galway is no exception in being green. On 22nd June 2016, Galway City was awarded the designation of European Green Leaf 2017.

It is the first Irish city to be awarded this designation. The Irish city was selected over two other strong-performing finalists: Cornellà de Llobregat of Spain and Mikkeli of Finland. The European Green Leaf is a new competition launched by the European Commission aimed at cities and towns, with between 20,000 and 100,000 inhabitants that recognizes a commitment to better environmental outcomes.

Here are some key area’s to take into account when planning your meeting in Galway:

  • Walk or take public transport. Galway City is compact enough to tour on foot, and many visitors hire bicycles to assist in getting around. Public buses There are two companies currently running city bus services in Galway City.
  • City Direct Bus Company from Eyre Square circumvent the city and make trips to nearby communities, City Direct is a private company running frequent (every 15 minute) services in the north of  Knocknacarra, and also services in the Salthill / Barna area.
  • Bus Èireann A state-owned company, and part of the CIÉ group, Bus Éireann run city-bus services in most other areas of the city, and across major towns and cities in Ireland as well as nearby Shannon and Ireland West Airports.
  • Go Bus and City Link operate direct bus transfers from Galway City to Dublin City and Airport.
  • Galway has a large taxi fleet that includes drivers using electric cars.
  • Galway Bikes provide the option to cycle around the city; there are multiple stations across the city to pick up or drop off a bicycle.

Purchasing & Waste

  • Think Reduce-Reuse-Recycle for event materials and communications.
  • Keep it digital where you can – electronic invitations, registration, follow ups etc.
  • Use vegetable based inks, lightest possible weight paper and materials from recycled sources.

Food & Drink 

  • Vegetarian and vegan options are more environmentally friendly and often tend to be cheaper, so make sure to incorporate some meat free options into your menu.
  • Tap water is a sustainable choice with no transportation or waste packaging. Use glasses and water jugs over single use plastic bottles.
  • Opt for local, seasonal and organic produce.
  • Choose ethical, eco and fair trade options.
  • Select local catering companies that have environmental credentials.
  • Plan functions to avoid disposable items (cups etc.) and avoid single use portion items (jams, sugars etc.)
  • Inform caters of the exact number of attendees to avoid waste, and offer half portions for children.

Venue & Accommodation 

  • Stay in close proximity to the event venue.
  • Choose accommodation providers that have an environmental certification.
  • Choose an event venue that has an environmental certification.
  • Ensure that accommodation options are within walking distance to the event or have good public transportation links.

Support the Local Community 

Leftover Food

Food Cloud will take donations of excess food from events, who will collect the food on site at no extra cost and arrange for distribution to appropriate charities.

More Information:

Surplus Stock

Have something that could potentially be a raw material for another business (Such as cardboard boxes, wooden pallets etc.)? List it on Smile Exchange to reduce landfill waste and further a circular economy.

More Information:

Finding accessible places to eat, sleep, and drink or things to do:

Access Earth is a home-grown free accessibility user generated database website that is also available as an android app. There is specific information on accessibility features of restaurants, venues, hotels and tourist attractions:

More details:


Promoting Universal Access:

Galway City Partnership has a long history of working to make Galway a more accessible city. The company provides a worker to support the work of Access For All – a network of local disability organisations. The focus of this work is on continually improving the

accessibility of the local built environment and involves working closely with Galway City Council and other key stakeholders.

For full details of the work of Access For All and if you wish to report a local access problem please visit the groups’ website at and/or Contact Nollaig at 091 773466 or e-mail: [email protected]

Public Transport: 

City Direct Bus

100% of all buses are low floor buses with one space for a person using a wheelchair. Wheelchairs can be accommodated up to a size of 70cm wide and 120cm long with a maximum weight of 300 kg.

Irish Rail

There are wheelchair spaces on each train, but spaces are limited so booking in advance is encouraged. Staff are available to assist, but 24 hours’ notice is required to ensure ramps can be set up at the appropriate stations. More information:


There are numerous wheelchair friendly taxi companies in Galway. They can be found using alternatively just searching “wheelchair accessible taxis Galway” on Google.

Assisted Accommodation: 

The Irish Wheelchair Association recommends Carmel Fallon Centre in Clontarf for accessible and supported holidays and breaks to people with disabilities and their families/carers. More information:

Accessible Transport Service

Galway Centre for Independent Living has five fully accessible minibuses. They can be hired by individuals or groups, for routine journeys or on a one-off basis. The buses are available for journeys within Galway City or County, dependent on viability, and all clients will be picked up at an. Our friendly drivers are all fully trained. We provide a door to door service Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm.

Note: There is a nominal fee the use of the bus to cover actual running costs.

“A person’s quality of life is significantly affected by his or her ability to access the transport network to avail of a choice of modes of transport and to be able to travel easily and with confidence to a chosen destination.” *

One piece of research found that over 40% of people with disabilities reported that they could not use public transport. Of these about 30% of disabled people who could not use public transport said it was because they could not get from their home to the bus stop or access point. Another 30% said it was because they could not physically get on to the bus or train. 25% of people with disabilities who responded to this survey reported having neither access to public transport nor regularly driving a car. **

For those who can neither drive nor use public transport, it is very difficult to get out of the house to go any distance unless given a lift or taking a taxi. This makes it hard to conduct the normal business of life – going to work, shopping, visiting friends. People with disabilities and/or mobility issues find it extremely difficult to access, suitable, affordable transport to be able to assist them in independent living. Lack of access to transport severely restricts independence.

For more details on our accessible transport service please contact the Transport Department of Galway Centre for Independent Living on 091 773910

Steps to Sustainability Galway Convention Bureau Member Workshop

We had a great workshop with an expert panel of speakers on how the convention bureau and our members can start taking steps to sustainability and help make Galway a sustainable destination. Ideas were shared among members on what was working for them. Some have already established green teams but need to now measure results. Galway Convention Bureau are happy to facilitate regular workshops working close with the local authorities to share information and training opportunities with members.

The immediate actions from our workshop are :

  1. Form a green team (nominate yourself : ) )
  2. If already a member of Green Hospitality progress to 3rd party accreditation.
  3. If not a member consider becoming one and contact Maurice
  4. Benchmark your business using the free survey on
  5.  RFPs from the bureau will now include a link to our new sustainability page on our website to view click the following link Sample RFP Galway Convention Bureau
  6. Michelle O Dowd Sustainability Office for NUI Galway shared an event check list they intend to send to delegates. The checklist contains ideas to make their conference more sustainable when holding events on the grounds of NUI Galway. View the list on the following link – NUI Galway Sustainable Event Check List 2018, it would be a great idea for members to adopt a similar initiative for their own future conferences.
  7.  To increase the visibility on the accessibility of our hotels, venues and restaurants all members should update this information on the following google app
  8. Progress Reports – Will be published on receipt of our GDSI ranking and communicated via the local media and our members. In the meantime a list of our hotels and venues with membership to Green Hospitality and those who have received 3rd party accreditation from Green Hospitality can be found on this link greenhospitalitygalway If any other members are applying for a seperate accreditation please inform the convention bureau.

From this workshop we have now formed a Green Team to help execute our Destination Sustainable Strategy. Any one interested in joining our green team can email their interest to [email protected]

Galway Convention Bureau Green Team External

Kerry O Sullivan Go West

Fergus O Halloran The Twelve Hotel

Michelle O Dowd NUI Galway

Arlene Finn Galway City Council

Rose Finn Galway Convention Bureau

Galway Convention Bureau Green Team Internal

Caitriona Doran Failte Ireland

Rose Finn Galway Convention Bureau

Dedicated Sustainability Manager for Ireland

Caitriona Doran Failte Ireland

Galway Convention Bureau – One Small Change –

Promoting Sustainable Events in Galway 2018

Green Your Gathering Conference

We were delighted to be offered the opportunity to present at the recent Green Your Gathering Conference in Galway. Where we got the opportunity to talk about our intention to enter into the Global Destination Sustainability Index for Galway.

Don’t Let Good Food Go To Waste

Free Cookery Demo GMIT March 6th

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway City Council and Galway County Council present a free cookery demonstration on food waste prevention in the home – Economy Gastronomy!

Enjoy an informative, educational food demonstration whilst learning essential tips around food waste prevention and cooking on a budget.

In addition to the cooking demonstration, experts will be on hand to give advice on menu planning, food waste prevention, food storage, composting and general waste management.

This is a free event but due to limited spaces being available, registration is required.

Our Ocean Wealth Summit Galway – Investing in Marine Ireland – 28th -29th June

Galway Convention Bureau and our members got on board with Seafest and the Ocean Wealth Summit Conference to make our businesses plastic free for the duration of the conference and festival. This was following on from “Plastic Free Week” where  businesses in Galway didn’t use plastic for a week. Now in its fifth year, the Our Ocean Wealth Summit forms a key part of the Government’s integrated marine plan – Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth. The Summit is a key event for the marine sector and related industries, offering a platform for discussion on the future of Ireland’s marine sector.

Celebrate ‘Green and Blue’ Spaces at the Loving Galway Festival! 20th – 30th September

The first ‘Loving Galway’ sustainability festival will run from the 20-30th of September 2018, in celebration of the ‘Green and Blue’ spaces breathing life into Galway City. The festival is a unique collaboration between Galway City Council, Galway City Community Network, NUI Galway, LAWCO, Galway Environmental Network, Youth Work Ireland Galway, Green-Schools, Galway Waterways, and community and environmental groups across the city. The festival builds on decades of activity by the City’s environmental community and is a legacy of Galway’s European Green Leaf designation in 2017.

Full Programme of Events can be downloaded by following the link  Loving Galway Programme 2018 FINAL LO RES

Cuan Beo – Linking the Land and the Sea – 13th September

Cuan Beo brought a popular new dimension to Cruinniu na mBad 2018 with a series of lectures and local chefs presenting their work in the Cuan Beo Marquee over the two days. The events attracted large crowds estimated to be in excess of 5,000.

Cuan Beo is an innovative coastal community group that supports individuals and organisations to understand and adopt sustainable practices associated with the aquatic resource of South Galway Bay from Oranmore to Blackhead in Co. Clare.

The Cuan Beo theme for the Cruinniu 2018 was ‘Linking the land and the sea – A holistic approach to creating a sustainable future for Galway Bay’

Connemara Green Festival 12th – 14th October

Eating for Conservation

The Connemara Green Festival celebrates Mother Nature, aims to raise awareness of the unique ecology of Connemara and raise funds for biodiversity projects. The festival is now in it’s 4th year.

Our theme this year is ‘Eating for Conservation’ and the festival will raise funds for awareness of the conservation of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel.

The festival takes place from Friday 12th October to Sunday 14th October and is based in Letterfrack village, Connemara, at the foot of the majestic Connemara National Park on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Enjoy inspiring events including walks with local ecologists and historians, nature workshops, foraging on the seashore, hill walks, learning about local fauna and flora, outdoor activities, vegetarian cooking demonstrations, pond dipping in the Connemara National Park, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and boat trips in Letterfrack Bay. Kids and adults are welcome and many events are free to attend.

Our Destination Strategy

Galway Convention Bureau with the support of our National Tourist Development Body Failte Ireland share the same mandate, mission, values and vision when it comes to sustainability we want to work with our suppliers and community to make Galway a sustainable destination. Further information on our joint strategy can be obtained by emailing [email protected]

Sustainable Suppliers

Spotlight on Sustainable Venues

National University of Ireland Galway

The National University of Galway is the largest venue in Galway capable of accommodating up to 1100 delegates theatre style, with up to 15 breakout rooms available on campus along with two Gala Dinner Venues the Alua Maxima and Bailey Allen Hall. NUIG also has accommodation for up to 1200 delegates during the summer using its student accommodation facilities.

Building on its existing reputation as an environmentally-friendly and societally responsive university, NUI Galway launched a wide-reaching Sustainability Strategy in November 2017. The NUI Galway Sustainability Strategy 2017-2020 sets out a vision of establishing the University as a top-class, green, smart and healthy campus. The Strategy outlines objectives and targets for the next three academic years as the first steps in the journey towards a sustainable campus and as part of a transition towards a sustainable community. The Strategy was developed by the Community and University Sustainability Project (CUSP) over the past year, following a comprehensive and inclusive engagement process with the campus community.

The Strategy is based on a Learn-Live-Lead model whereby the University will build on its core strengths in teaching and research to learn about the environment and new techniques, analyse campus operations, building performance and user habits to live more sustainably and connect to the broader community and other institutions, to lead by example.

Some of the progress to date includes the launch of a sustainability website, development and roll-out of a sustainable event checklist, design of a biodiversity trail celebrating nature on campus, launch of  Student Sustainability Leadership Awards Programme, increased number of sustainability teaching programmes, increased engagement in energy awareness campaigns,  installation of solar PV in some key buildings etc.

It is envisaged that successful implementation of the NUI Galway Sustainability Strategy will ensure that NUI Galway’s reputation around the world is enhanced, that graduates are valued for their world-readiness, that research tackles societal challenges and that the campus is a role model for sustainability.

Spotlight on Sustainable Hotels

The Twelve Hotel Barna

Gold Medal Award Winner 2018 Green Hospitality

Galway Convention Bureau putting the spotlight on sustainable suppliers in Galway. This month we are putting the spotlight on The Twelve Hotel Barna.

Winner of a Gold Award from Green Hospitality Awards.

The twelve have set out objectivies and targets for the year ahead to make the hotel a more sustainable venue. If you stay at the hotel here is how you can make your stay more greener.

12 Things You Can do To make Your Stay Greener…
Adhering to our ‘Towel Reuse Programme’
Conservative use of water by using the two flush mechanism in the public areas
Not running water while brushing teeth
Not running water while shaving but rather fill the basin
Turn off air conditioning when windows are open
Place all clean dry recycling items in metal bin in room and general waste in bin in the toilet
Please call reception if you would like your linen changed
Please ask at reception for our guest guide where you will find lots of local biodiversity activities
Have any used batteries? You can leave them at our collection point at reception
Turn off lights in bathroom when not in use
Turn off lights and tv if not needed
Take your key card from socket when leaving your room
Electric Car Charging Stations Available

To learn more about how you can make your holiday and life carbon free, please visit this website:

Spotlight on Sustainable Restaurants

Wholly Cow

Galway Convention Bureau putting the spotlight on sustainable suppliers in Galway. This month we are putting the spotlight on Wholly Cow Burgers.

Wholly Cow Burgers opened in Newcastle January 2018, and with it came a serious local, fresh approach to food.

The menu is simple, 5 burgers, one veggie of course and chips cut in house. Galway reared cows make for a succulent 8oz patty, all served in a homemade brioche bun. What goes with the burger is very simple, as the meat will do the talking. Head chef and co-owner Val pickles his own veg and makes his very own signature sauces to compliment every palette.The entire menu is Irish with more than 90% coming from Galway alone. The meat and bread are all sourced in Galway with a range of Irish cheeses from around the country playing a starring role.

With only 1% general waste, they are committed to a sustainable low carbon footprint product, using all recyclable eco-friendly packaging. The burgers are served in bespoke wooden crates.

More info:

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