How we can all be more responsible tourists - Visit North Mayo

Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints, keep nothing but memories.

We at Mayo North Tourism believe that tourism should be sustainable for everyone involved, and that regardless of where we travel – at home or abroad, when the time comes – the wellbeing of host communities, visitors and the environment should always be a priority. As our country prepares to open up, we’ve put together some tips to help keep this in mind on our travels.

1. Plan your trip

Where possible (and it’s not always!), try to travel using public transport. There are regular train and bus connections into Ballina stations, if you’re visiting us here in North Mayo, and lots of local guides to bring you on tour!

If you’re reading this from outside Ireland we encourage you if you can to fly direct to Ireland, preferably to our nearest airport Ireland West (UK and EU) or Shannon (USA/Canada) or Dublin (rest of world).

Where possible we also encourage you to explore by foot. We’re fortunate in Ballina that our town landmarks are located in close proximity to one another. Exploring by foot will allow you to discover our many hidden gems at your own pace. So pop on a Fitbit and get in your steps!

2. Choose your time carefully

Travelling during high season, an influx of summer tourists can put unusually high pressure on the environment. So if it’s an option, why not considering travelling off-season or in the shoulder season when hotels stand empty and attractions are less full? This will help bring balance to the environment and the economy of destinations, and will also ensure you get a great deal!

3. Accommodation awareness

When you’re staying with one of our accommodation providers, whether it’s a hotel, B&B or self-catering option, you can still be mindful of the environment. Here are a few tips:

(i) Instead of requesting bottled water, request tap water when you’re dining, and fill your water bottle up before a day’s exploring.

(ii) Say no to plastic straws with your beverage.

(iii) Turn off lights and appliances when you leave your room.

(iv) Be mindful of towel washing – reuse where possible!

(v) Ask your host for recommendations on things to do in our area instead of picking up countless flyers. If you need a guide pick up a copy of our ’50 Things to do in Mayo North’ flyer, or bookmark our website!

We’re blessed in Mayo North with a wide variety of accommodation. See our accommodation here.

4. Try to avoid plastics

Plastic pollution is a global problem. Bring your refillable water bottle and always think before you grab a disposable plastic bottle and of course, say no to plastic straws.

If you’re in the mood for a takeaway, ask the provider if they have any sustainable packaging, or carry your own cutlery with you.

If you’re in the mood for some shopping say no to plastic/paper bags, instead use a recyclable bag or pop your purchased item in your handbag or rucksack.

And of course, for all the coffee stops you’ll encounter, be sure to have your Keep Cup with you at all times!

5. Support Small businesses

If you’re looking for a souvenir or keepsake, try and buy one that has been made locally. Remember to avoid a plastic bag. And by shopping with and supporting locally owned businesses, you’ll have a  better chance of meeting the locals!

6. Please don’t litter

This one is simple, and it’s for everyone – locals and visitors alike. Leave No Trace, of any description.

If you’re out and about please place your rubbish in a bin. If there is no bin available please bring your rubbish home with you. In Ireland leaving or throwing litter in a public place is an offence that can result in an on-the-spot fine of €150, or a maximum fine of €3,000. If you spot some illegal litter you may report it here.

Please clean up your dog poo, and if you use a bag to do so, please place the bag in the correct bin.

Be mindful of the natural environment when you’re out and about. Where possible stick to the designated track and don’t pick any flowers or grass. The bees will be so grateful! 🐝

7. Stay a while longer

Instead of trying to cover lots of ground in a short space of time, why not visit a small geographical area and explore it thoroughly, rather than racing through a long route?

Take your time and immerse yourself into our communities. Get to know the people in the place you are visiting. There’s simply so much to do that a day or two might not suffice!

What are we doing at Mayo North Tourism?

We here in the Mayo North Tourism are proud to support Ballina – Ireland’s Greenest Town initiative. This initiative aims to to make Ballina Ireland’s greenest town by 2025. We’ve also signed up to the Mary Robinson Centre‘s ‘Green Town Charter. You may read more about our pledge here.

Watch Leave No Trace Ireland‘s ‘Outdoor Ethics’ video

Ní neart go cur le chéile.” There is no strength without unity.

Irish Seanfhocal / Proverb