Sustainability at the Killarney Park
Caring for people means caring for our environment
The Killarney Park Hotel is located in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. The National Park on our doorstep is a UNESCO biosphere reserve. This landscape of rugged mountains, glacial lakes, and ancient forests draws visitors from all over the world, but Killarney National Park is more than just breathtaking scenery. It is also a precious ark of unique ecosystems and biodiversity that can never be replicated or replaced. Our hotel actually sits within the biosphere, in the “buffer zone” defined by UNESCO, so the responsibility we feel to protect and preserve our environment is very present and very real.
Our mission is to create an ethical culture of regenerative tourism, where we are not just limiting the potential negative impacts of our business but actually making things better for people and the planet. The work we do in the hotel every day to delight our guests also contributes to goals such as improving biodiversity, supporting local entrepreneurs, and championing community initiatives.
During conversations about sustainability in the hospitality industry, we joined forces with our sister property, The Ross, to create the TRKPH Council, and signed a charter defining our commitment to regenerative tourism:
“We will offer an enhanced luxury experience to our guests that delivers positive environmental, social, and economic impacts to our local communities.
We will prioritise protecting the planet for the next generation.”
Our environmental policy is serious, but not solemn. Caring for the people and places we love is a joyful thing. Running a five star hotel means pouring infinite care into the smallest details. It is about constantly finding ways to make people’s lives better, lovelier, and more wonderful. At The Killarney Park, we extend this same dedication to sustainability, always striving to improve our environmental practices. Investigating our supply chains to limit carbon emissions and ensure ethical sources. Being thoughtful and creative with our menus to eliminate food waste. Building systems to monitor and minimise our energy and water consumption and investing in alternative energy infrastructure. Designing paper waste and single-use plastic out of our operations. It is a process that never ends. It is a compelling challenge that inspires and excites us every day.
We are energised by the way one conscious decision can lead to a new discovery, carrying us further down the sustainability rabbit hole, onto new adventures. That is the story of how our kitchen gardens began. We had a chat with one of our local produce suppliers, Gareth from Poppa Doms, about how to reduce wastage of the most perishable greens and herbs we use in our kitchens. That led us to grow what we need in season right here, under his mentorship. We are encouraged by the way a small choice we make can inspire others to make changes of their own, such as the time another local supplier, Spillane’s Seafood, told us they’d invested in an electrical vehicle and solar energy after seeing both in action at The Killarney Park.
We believe in leading by example.
We believe in celebrating people for the steps they take to protect the planet, rather than lecturing them about environmental responsibility.
We believe in the luxury of choice, and revel in the power it grants us to make a difference.
Honest environmental responsibility
Is there such a thing as a sustainable five star hotel?
“Sustainability” is such a tricky word that sometimes we almost hesitate to use it. Aside from potentially being seen as a bit worthy or preachy, it can be a difficult concept to pin down. How is sustainability defined? How is it measured? What does it mean to be truly sustainable, and is that something that’s even possible?
The World Tourism Organization is a United Nations specialised agency focused on the promotion of “responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism”. The UNWTO offers us a good place to start, with their working definition of Sustainable Tourism:
“Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities.”
That single sentence holds a lot of complexity. When you really think about what it means to take a “full account” of all the impacts and all the intersecting needs that must be considered, it becomes clear that sustainability can only ever be a journey.
We knew from the beginning that if we were going to call ourselves a sustainable hotel, we needed to commit ourselves to a constant and never-ending cycle of evaluation, investment and review. We needed to explore and monitor every aspect of the hotel to see what concrete actions we could take to improve. We needed operational plans, tangible projects, and measurable results.
Sustainability is a journey that only happens in small steps, repeated consistently and ceaselessly. It demands a lot of honesty and humility, a lot of empathy and imagination, and a lot of practical work and decision making. It requires a genuine passion for our environment, and most of all, it requires full engagement with our team, our guests, and our community.
Ultimately, our quest for sustainability is a very natural extension of The Killarney Park’s ethos, our love and care for people and the place we come from. It springs from the philosophy of hospitality we inherited from Marie, the Treacy family matriarch: to do the right thing, and to do it well, every time.
None of us can “save the world” on our own, but all of us have choices to make every day, and those choices do add up to make a difference. We are deeply grateful to our team members, who all share a devotion to doing the right thing for its own sake, and to all our guests. Your decision to choose more sustainable tourism and accommodation options is a powerful force for good in the hospitality industry and in the world.
Led by our dedicated Sustainability Manager, Louise Byrne, The Killarney Park Hotel Green Team are always looking for new ways to help make our hotel greener. We welcome any questions or suggestions you may have: this is a collaborative effort! You can talk to us about sustainability any time by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Transparency, accountability, and results
Explore our green certifications, tangible projects, and community ini
Transparency is vital to sustainability efforts that go beyond greenwashing, so we are committed to visibility and oversight in all of our efforts. We publish an annual Sustainability Report, which you can find here, along with a wealth of information about what we are actually doing to live up to our environmental and ethical ideals.
We are founding members of The Killarney Hotels Sustainability Group, a group of hotels totalling more than 3,000 bedrooms, who are committed to protecting our landscape and environment wherever possible.
We are also members of The Green Hospitality Programme and are Gold Award Certified, which is the only Irish environmental certification standard for the hospitality sector. The GreenHospitality.ie Eco-label and Awards are recognised both nationally and internationally as standards that allow members to achieve good environmental performance. They also give guests like you the power to choose “greener” hospitality businesses with confidence, knowing that defined criteria are being implemented and monitored.
Learn more about the actions we are taking to create a holistic environmental strategy for the hotel.