Ashford Castle

GEO Certified® 11/2017
Co Mayo,
Ireland
Telephone: 00353949546003
Ashford_image_club_image

This audit was conducted over two days in November 2016. The audit comprised an initial meeting with representatives of estate management and staff, including the team responsible for management of the golf course. The visit also incorporated a tour of the hotel and associated amenities and facilities, a walkover survey of some of the wider woodland and parkland areas, and a walk through of the golf course accompanied by the course managers, and a review of environmental documentation and evidence of various sustainability initiatives which hav…

Conor Kretsch, GEOSA, Accredited Verifier Read verifier report.

GEO Certified® Report

GEO Certified® is the symbol of great golf environments worldwide – designating that a golf facility has met a credible standard in the areas of nature, water, energy, supply chain, pollution control, and community, and is committed to continually improve. GEO Certified® is widely trusted and endorsed by a growing number of organizations and people, both inside and outside golf.

Click below to read about the activities undertaken by this golf facility to operate sustainably.

Facility details

Golf Courses
Ashford Castle Golf Course (9 holes, 2996 yards, year opened 1971)
1 Pro Shop

Nature

The estimated total area of the Ashford Castle Golf Course covers between 85 to 90 acres.
The grounds are naturally undulating with very little disturbance of natural ground levels.
Formerly known as the Deerpark, it was the habitat for the deer herd during the Guinness era in the mid to late 1800’s .
The Ashford Castle Golf course is surrounded by a combination of plantation forestry and mature pines and deciduous trees.
Species include; Douglas Fir, larch, Norway Spruce, Sitka Spruce, Oak, Beech, Sycamore, Horse Chesnut and Ash.
The ninth hole overlooks Lough Corrib and the mouth of the river Cong.
Natural woodland margin plant life grows seasonally; buttercup, dandelion, blackthorn, whitethorn, hazel and bramble to identify a few. Foxes, hares, red squirrels, bats, field mice and shrew are frequently spotted in the early morning or late night. Jay birds, magpies, crows, wren, robin, thrush, starlet, finch, blue tit, barn owl and swallows nest in the surrounding environs.

Consultation & Surveys

This golf facility consults the following organizations regarding landscape heritage conservation:

  • Noel Lane Tree Care
  • Natural Environment Team
  • McCarthy Keville O'sullivan
  • Mary Mulvey EcoTourism Ireland
  • Greenmile Landscapes ltd

No landscape assessments or surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility.

This golf facility consults the following organizations regarding ecosystem protection and enhancement:

  • Greenmile Landscapes Ltd
  • Green TourismUK
  • Greenmile Landscapes Ltd
  • Green Tourism

No ecological surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility.

Rare, protected and notable species occurring at this golf facility:

Local name Scientific name
Red Squirrel Sciurus vulgaris

This golf facility does not monitor any species as indicators of environmental quality.

Habitats & Designations

This golf facility does not feature any landscape designations.

No areas of habitats / vegetation types and associated designations are present at this golf facility.

Turfgrass

Size and estimated species composition of amenity turfgrass maintained at this golf facility.

Estimated Area (Acres) Turfgrass Species Sward Composition (%)
Greens 1.5 Acres Agrostis tenuis / capillaris 30%
Festuca rubra 30%
Tees 0.5 Acres Festuca rubra 35%
Agrostis tenuis / capillaris 35%
Fairways 12.0 Acres Lolium perenne 50%
Festuca rubra 50%
Semi Rough 22.0 Acres Lolium perenne 50%
Festuca rubra 50%

These turfgrasses are optimal for the circumstances at this club because:
The existing turfgrasses are the most suitable to our soil type and climatic location.
These are the most resilient to coping with intensive use throughout the year.

This golf facility assesses mowing patterns every: Month months

This golf facility consults the following individuals / organizations regarding its grassing plan:

  • Eddie b Connaughton ltd

This golf facility is making the following efforts to manage the playing quality expectations of customers:

Activity Description
Establishing clear internal policies for irrigation, fertilization, colour, cutting heights, overseeding etc The Castle Golf course doesn't have an irrigation system. Any necessary water occurs on the greens using water brought directly from the lake with a mobile tank unit. This is only carried out in severe drought conditions. Fertiliser use is kept to a minimum by monitoring grass growth/conditions and feeding if necessary. Cutting heights are set at 4mm greens in summer, 7mm greens in winter, 7mm Tees & Aprons in summer and 9mm in winter. Fairways are cut at 18mm in summer and cut less frequently during the winter. Semi roughs are cut at 52 mm throughout the year.
Promoting the playing quality values of more naturalized turf, particularly fairways and semi-rough Keeping fertiliser to a minimum leads to a more hard wearing grass.
Promoting the financial benefits of presenting sustainable surfaces Applies to Club membership.

Conservation & Enhancement

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to conserve landscape character:

Activity Description
Allowing seasonal variation of course coloration and texture Seasonal variation occurs naturally throughout the year.
Appropriately matching mowing lines to contours Wherever possible mowing lines follow the ground contours of the existing slopes.
Protection and restoration of historic features None applicable.
Discreet on-course signage and furniture The course has very little signage and furniture is made from wood.
Conservation of specimen trees Tree survey was conducted and implemented.
Screening and softening unsightly man-made features Planting took place to screen a new Car park facility using a mix of native Irish species.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to improve the landscape ecology of the golf course:

Activity Description
Minimizing the amount of amenity grass In the past two years we have increased our areas of rough to allow for more natural habitats.
Increasing the size of habitat patches Roughs have been increased in size.
Connection of internal habitat patches Internal habitat patched are in close proximity to one another thus making it easy for wildlife to move freely.
Connection of patches with external habitats Woodland margins surround roughs and is linked continuously throughout the golf course.
Creation of habitat corridors These already exist naturally throughout the course.
Avoidance of habitat fragmentation Existing habitats are in the main closely situated to each other.
Improving and diversifying habitat edges Existing Habitats are currently suitable.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to improve the quality of habitats on the golf course:

Activity Description
Creation of botanically rich rough grassland The roughs are no longer mowed in the aim of increasing botanically rich habitats.
Ecologically informed management of scrub vegetation Scrub vegetation is continuously managed and monitored and if required any excess growth will be kept in check.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to conserve and enhance biodiversity on the golf course:

Activity Description
Provision of nesting and nectar for pollinators Nest boxes located on trees around the golf course.
Installation of nest boxes Barn owl boxes on the golfcourse.
Control / management of alien species None identified on golf course.
Provision of hibernation areas Hedgehogs hibernate in woodland rough margins.

Water

Due to high rainfall levels on the west of Ireland, the need for artificial water usage is low. Any watering on the golf course is brought from the nearby lake in a portable container. Water from mains is used for washing the limited amount of machinery.

Sources & Consumption

No water audits have been undertaken at this golf facility.

The water used at this golf facility is drawn from the following sources:

2015 Source(s) % of supply Total Consumption
Golf Course Surface 100% 120,000 Litres
Maintenance Facility/Facilities Public / Potable 100% 100,000 Litres

Irrigation & Efficiency

No areas receive irrigation at this golf facility.

The irrigation system at this golf facility is:
None

The irrigation system at this golf facility is:

This golf facility does not undertake activities to maximize irrigation efficiency.

This golf facility does not undertake activities to conserve / reduce / minimize water consumption.

Energy

Due to the natural management practices we have a low fuel requirement regarding machinery. We have no club house facility as the golf course is primarily a guest facility for our hotel guests. Energy consumption is measured and usage monitored through energy equipment audits and observation. Guests are invited to reuse their towels and bed linen. Plans to introduce sub metering in May 2016. Insulation was improved with the introduction of double glazed windows, resealing of the entire roof and pointing of all stonework. An energy management system controls lighting and heating in bedroorms through the key card system. A building management system controls air-conditioning throughout. The hotel uses 85% energy efficient lighting & motion sensors throughout all back of house areas.

Sources & Consumption

The following energy surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility:

Title Author Date View document
Green Tourism Audit Stuart Brain Green Tourism 2015/12/03 Download
Carbon Certificate Green Tourism 2015/09/25 Download
Energy Saving Light Credit Energia 2015/06/11 Download

Consumption of renewable energy and resources at this golf facility:

2016 2015 2014
Biogas (Litres) 0 0
Biomass 0 0
First Generation Bio-Fuels (Litres) 0 0
Hydrogen (Litres) 0 0
On-site Hydro (kWh) 0 0
On-site Solar (kWh) 0 0
On-site Wind (kWh) 0 0
Renewable Grid Electricity (kWh) 0 0
Second Generation Bio-Fuels (Litres) 0 0
Wood from sustainable sources 0 0

Consumption of non-renewable energy and resources at this golf facility:

2016 2015 2014
Coal 0 0
Diesel (Litres) 10500 10000
Heating Oil (Litres) 0 0
Hydraulic Oil (Litres) 0 0
LPG (Litres) 145000 135000
Natural Gas (Litres) 0 0
Non-renewable Grid (kWh) 01538920 1463545
Petrol (Litres) 0 0
Propane / Butane (Litres) 0 0
Wood from unsustainable sources 0 0

Energy Efficiency

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to diversify energy and fuel supply:

Activity Description
Use of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) We moved from oil to LPG as our primary source of fuel for heating at the Castle.
Use of electric hybrid vehicles We have a fleet of 6 electric buggies.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to reduce energy consumption:

Activity Description
Investment in low-energy heating and air conditioning systems Energy consumption is measured and usage monitored through energy equipment audits and observation. Guests are invited to reuse their towels and bed linen. Plans to introduce sub metering in May 2016. Insulation was improved with the introduction of double glazed windows, resealing of the entire roof and pointing of all stonework. An energy management system controls lighting and heating in bedroorms through the key card system. A building management system controls air-conditioning throughout. The hotel uses 85% energy efficient lighting & motion sensors throughout all back of house areas.
Installation of low-energy lighting 85% of building uses energy saving lighting.
Use of motion sensor lighting All back of house areas use motion sensor lighting.
Transition to energy efficient appliances Recently underwent a complete restoration with all areas receiving energy efficient equipment.
Use of timers with appliances, heating and lighting A BMS is in place to control heating times. Interior lighting is controlled with motion sensors and outdoor lighting are on a photocell.
Educating staff and customers We have a green team at the Castle responsible for educating team members and guests. We hold a green awareness week once every six months at the Castle.

Vehicles & Transport

The maintenance fleet at this golf facility uses the following fuel sources:

Ride-on Mowers Walking Mowers Utility Vehicles
Petrol 100%
Diesel 100% 0% 100%

Additional vehicles operated by this golf facility use the following fuel sources:

Golf Carts Cars Buses
Grid Electric 100% 0% 0%

This golf facility has established the following schemes to encourage reductions in staff and customer transport emissions:

Activity Description
Car sharing incentives We organise a pick up service for our staff from Ballinrobe each day.
Secure cycle parking We are members of the Bike to work scheme that encourages team members to cycle to work through.
Promoting public transport routes and timetables We have public transport and timetables available for all team members.
Increasing equipment storage (e.g. lockers) All team members have their own lockers and we provide showers in our changing rooms.
Staff showers Are available for all team members.
Tax breaking incentives for cycling Bike to work scheme
Promotion of walk to work campaigns Green Team at the Castle. Responsible run weekly with Deputy GM.

Supply Chain

We use a combination of organic based fertilisers from Gold crop. Whenever necessary fungicides are used appropriately on the greens only. Selective herbicide products are used on fairways and semi roughs two applications per year). Lime free sand is brought from wexford in the south east of Ireland for greens and fairways.

Purchasing Policies

This golf facility undertakes the following ethical / environmental purchasing activities:

Activity Description
Measures to avoid waste at source Sand is purchased by the lorry load with no packaging and ordered in bulk reducing multiple journeys.
Selection of products that feature minimal packaging All chemical packaging are triple rinsed and responsibly disposed of according to EU laws.

Supply Chain

An overview of the supplier network at this golf facility:

Total number of suppliers Total number of suppliers within 10 Kilometres Total number of suppliers within 100 Kilometres
Retail 20
Trade & Contractors 2
Maintenance Equipment 1
Course Supplies 1

Turfgrass Inputs

This golf facility undertakes the following IPM activities:

Activity Description
Encouraging drought and disease tolerant grasses We grow fescue and bent species of grass. They are resilient to disease and drought. Regular verticutting/scarifying and aeration is carried out to minimise thatch build up, improve drainage and reduce disease occurrence.
Managing stress and wear There are strict guidelines regarding the non use of buggies during unsuitable ground conditions. We use wide tyre vehicles to protect the grass. The course is for guest use only and traffic is continuously managed.
Enhancement of soil structure We use organic based fertilisers which greatly assists the natural biology of the soil. Vertidraining/slitting/aerating and sand application all contribute to enhancing the soil structure. We are currently trialling a compost tea (liquid compost) which should hopefully reduce artificial fertiliser and fungicide usage on the greens.
Optimization of the growing environment Sound agronomic practices in relation to grass maintenance combined with the use of Organic based fertilisers are resulting in a better grass sward / growing environment.
Managing thatch levels We manually aerate and scarify the Greens on a regular basis to prevent thatch build up. We are currently trialling a compost tea (liquid compost) which should hopefully reduce artificial fertiliser and fungicide usage on the greens
Managing surface moisture Sound agronomic practices in relation to grass maintenance i.e.Vertidraining/slitting/aerating help surface moisture move down the soil profile.
Establishing thresholds for pests and disease Daily monitoring of Greens to ensure pest and disease levels do not require chemical inputs.
Scouting for pests and diseases Daily monitoring of Greens to ensure pest and disease levels do not require chemical inputs. If pest and disease levels become problematic, appropriate product is applied.
Monitoring / improvement of plant health Experienced team manage and continuously monitor fairways, tees and greens. If necessary extra organic based fertiliser is applied to any stressed area.

Fertilizer use at this golf facility in the last three years (kg):

2016 2015 2014
Fairways - K - Inorganic 0 0
Fairways - K - Organic 165 165
Fairways - N - Inorganic 0 0
Fairways - N - Organic 88 88
Fairways - P - Inorganic 0 0
Fairways - P - Organic 21 21
Greens - K - Inorganic 0 0
Greens - K - Organic 76 76
Greens - N - Inorganic 0 0
Greens - N - Organic 76 76
Greens - P - Inorganic 0 0
Greens - P - Organic 16 16
Rough - K - Inorganic 0 0
Rough - K - Organic 0 0
Rough - N - Inorganic 0 0
Rough - N - Organic 0 0
Rough - P - Inorganic 0 0
Rough - P - Organic 0 0
Semi-Rough - K - Inorganic 0 0
Semi-Rough - K - Organic 00 0
Semi-Rough - N - Inorganic 0 0
Semi-Rough - N - Organic 0 0
Semi-Rough - P - Inorganic 0 0
Semi-Rough - P - Organic 0 0
Tees - K - Inorganic 0 0
Tees - K - Organic 41.6 41.6
Tees - N - Inorganic 0 0
Tees - N - Organic 41 41
Tees - P - Inorganic 0 0
Tees - P - Organic 8.6 8.6

Pesticide use at this golf facility in the last three years (kg):

2016 2015 2014
Fairways - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0
Fairways - Fungicide - Total Weight 0 0
Fairways - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 0 0
Fairways - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 1.68 1.68
Fairways - Herbicide - Total Weight 5 5
Fairways - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 1 1
Fairways - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 0 0
Fairways - Insecticide - Total Weight 00 0
Fairways - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 0 0
Greens - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 5.1 5.1
Greens - Fungicide - Total Weight 20 20
Greens - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 3 4
Greens - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 0 0
Greens - Herbicide - Total Weight 0 0
Greens - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 0 0
Greens - Insecticide - Active Ingredient .96 .96
Greens - Insecticide - Total Weight 2 2
Greens - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 0 0
Rough - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0
Rough - Fungicide - Total Weight 0 0
Rough - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 0 0
Rough - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 0 0
Rough - Herbicide - Total Weight 0 0
Rough - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 0 0
Rough - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 0 0
Rough - Insecticide - Total Weight 00 0
Rough - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 0 0
Semi-Rough - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0
Semi-Rough - Fungicide - Total Weight 0 0
Semi-Rough - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 0 0
Semi-Rough - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 1.68 1.68
Semi-Rough - Herbicide - Total Weight 5 5
Semi-Rough - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 1 1
Semi-Rough - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 0 0
Semi-Rough - Insecticide - Total Weight 0 0
Semi-Rough - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 0 0
Tees - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0
Tees - Fungicide - Total Weight 0 0
Tees - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 0 0
Tees - Herbicide - Active Ingredient .365 .365
Tees - Herbicide - Total Weight 24 24
Tees - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 1 1
Tees - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 0 0
Tees - Insecticide - Total Weight 0 0
Tees - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 0 0

This golf facility undertakes the following actions to optimize pesticide use:

Activity Description
Selection on the least toxic and lest persistent products Current EU legislation allows for the utilisation of low toxicity products only in Ireland. Correct identification of disease/pest/weed and application of most appropriate product to resolve problem. Implementation of good agronomic practice to reduce risk of problem occurrence. Currently trialling biological control products in relation to disease/fungus control and next year will be using biological insect control products. Proper equipment calibration and maintenance and use of proper PPE and correct disposal of used empty containers and storage of product for use to ensure reduction of any
Selection of appropriate products for specific pests and diseases Appropriate product is applied where necessary upon identification of disease/ pest.
Spot-treatment with handheld sprayers and wipers Where threshold of pest/disease is localised, spot treatment occurs.
Calibration and testing of sprayers Sprayers are routinely calibrated.
Use of shrouded sprayer and anti-drip nozzles We use air induction nozzles which reduce spray drift.
Non-chemical weed control Weeds are removed manually on greens.
Use of organic and biological products to improve plant health and resistance. Plan on using compost tea to improve plant health and currently trialling probiotic product.

Waste Management

No waste audits have been undertaken at this golf facility.

This golf facility manages key waste streams as follows:

Re-use Recycle Landfill Incinerate
Glass false true false false
Plastic false true false false
Aluminium true false false false
Metal true false false false
Paper & Cardboard false true false false
Grass Clippings false true false false
Cores & Turf true false false false
Sand true false false false
Wood / Timber true false false false

This golf facility does not undertake activities to continue the lifecycle of materials and resources.

Pollution Control

We are currently applying for membership of the “Ireland, Leave no trace programme” and educate our guests by highlighting on our estate maps the following principles - plan ahead and prepare, be considerate of others, respect farm animals and wildlife, leave what you find, dispose of waste properly. We provide complimentary bio-degradable dog poop scoop bags and stations for all visitors to the estate. Our Estate ranger patrols the estate daily ensuring best practices are adhered to. The Castle is committed to supporting native wild life on the estate with the introduction of bat boxes, barn owl boxes, long eared owl boxes, bird houses, solitary bee hives and bug hotels. The estate provides biodiversity and wildlife information in its walking and jogging booklets and estate maps. The Castle fully complies with all environmental best practices. The Castle is completely compliant with waste water treatment practices. Best European water flow measure practices are benchmarked for annual inspections. Grease trap cleaning is completed on a monthly basis. Water harvested from river is used to water grass and plants throughout the estate. Urinals are set on sensors throughout the public areas. Guests are encouraged to conserve water through the information card located in their room. Responsible practices include a quarterly water sampling test for all bacterium.

Water Analysis

This golf facility monitors water quality with the following frequency:

Chemical Biological Visual
Inflow Weekly Weekly Weekly
On-Site Weekly Weekly Weekly
Outflow Weekly Weekly Weekly

Waste Water

Waste water from this golf facility is managed as follows:

Discharges to Formal Discharge Agreement
Golf Course Mains Sewer
Clubhouse Mains Sewer
Maintenance Facility Mains Sewer
Wash Pad Mains Sewer

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials at this golf facility are handled and disposed of as follows:

Secure Storage Registered Uplift
Detergents false true
Cooking Oils false true
Lubricants false true
Pesticide Containers false true
Fertiliser Bags false true
Oil Filters false true
Batteries false true

Pollution Prevention

This golf facility does not undertake activities to prevent pollution from its maintenance facility and clubhouse.

No activities to prevent pollution on its golf course have been undertaken at this golf facility.

Community

Ashford Castle contributed €100,000 in 2015 to a number of local charities - Cong Community Centre Project; Cong National School who together with the Cong Nature and Wildlife Plan will be creating a sensory garden to aid the development children with learning and educational disabilities; Cong Tidy Towns dedicated to enhancing the natural and built beauty of the village.

Employment & Education

Typical staffing levels at this golf facility are:

Full Time Part Time Seasonal
Club Management 2 1 1
Retail & Leisure 4 1 2

The sustainability working group at this golf facility is comprised of:

  • Owner
  • General Manager
  • Course Manager
  • Local Community
  • Ashford Castle Green Team

Employees at this golf facility receive the following formal and informal environmental education:

Activity Description
Efficient water management The Castle is completely compliant with waste water treatment practices. Water harvested from river is used to water grass and plants throughout the estate. . Responsible practices include a quarterly water sampling test for all bacterium.
Management of accidents and emergencies The hotel has 15 first aiders and the closest doctor’s surgery is located at the entrance to the estate. Appropriate procedures are in place to ensure that when dealing with an incident resulting in injury all legal obligations are met and the guest receives the treatment they need. The nearest hospital is 35 minutes away by ambulance.
Management of habitats and vegetation The Castle is committed to supporting native wild life on the estate with the introduction of bat boxes, barn owl boxes, long eared owl boxes, bird houses, solitary bee hives and bug hotels. The estate provides biodiversity and wildlife information in its walking booklets and estate maps.
Waste minimization, separation and recycling Food waste, Recycling dry paper and plastic, Hazardous waste: Flammable materials, chemicals, paint spills, solvents, oil spills using COSHH principles.
Bulk cooking oil deliveries collections, Battery, fluorescent tubes and light bulb collections, Print toner collections, WEEE collections.
Health & Safety A health & safety consultant is employed to carry our regular audits of the building and estate. The Estate is patrolled daily by the Estate ranger and staff receive regular security awareness training.
Energy Saving Our Green fleet includes electrical food transport vehicle, 6 golf buggies and three guest shuttle buggies. An E-vehicle charging point is in place and available for guest and supplier use. The hotel uses 85% Energy efficient lighting & motion sensors throughout all back of house areas.
Understanding of landscape and cultural heritage The Castle supports cultural heritage through the use of culture & heritage maps highlighting the biodiversity throughout the estate, mapped walking & running trails, local heritage trails. Pictorial guide maps of the local region and Connemara are given to guests also describing areas of cultural interest within a 1 hour drive from the Castle e.g. Irish museum of country life. Each guest receives a two page history of the Castle to read should they wish to discover more about the estate. We support financially the listed historical sites of the two Churches in Cong.
Environmental management planning Our Environmental management team are responsible for implementing green policy throughout the Estate. All new team members receive Environmental training through “Creating a Greener RCH and You”. The action list is set under the following pillars; Energy, Water, Waste & Corporate Social responsibility. The Castle is Gold accredited through Green Hospitality Ireland and Green Tourism UK.

Community Relations

This golf facility engages with local community groups in the following manner:

Activity Description
Neighbours The goal and objective of Congolians is to help our young people develop qualities such as caring, compassion, confidence, competence, character and engage in activities that benefit themselves and the community. 5000.00 euro was donated in 2015 to the youth club.
Local Government We work closely with the Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) the state agency responsible for the protection, management and conservation of Ireland's inland fisheries and sea angling resources. We would co-operate closely with them on local projects.
Local Environmental Groups Work closely with Environment groups for the protection of Bats.
Local Community Groups Ashford Castle was and still is involved in the Cong Community Centre project.The new village centre has become the backbone of the local community supporting cultural heritage. Ashford castle has donated over 40,000 euro to date.Includes Cong Tidy Towns, Foróige Club, St. Fechin’s Senior Citizens Club.
Local Businesses With Local business, we created the “Cong Food village”. The focus is completely on food – growing it, cooking it, sharing it and eating it! Cong Food Village’s aim is to educate our youth on good quality food and where it comes from. To put Cong on the Map as a good quality food destination.
Schools & Colleges Cong National School along with the Cong Nature and Wildlife Plan are working on the implementation of a Sensory Garden in order to aid the development and enjoyment of children with learning and educational disabilities. This will benefit many local children, including children whose parents currently work at Ashford Castle & The Lodge at Ashford. Ashford contributed 20,000 euro to develop this wonderful initiative.

Land Use & Cultural Heritage

This golf facility provides access and diversified land use for others through:

Activity Description
Maintenance of existing public paths All public paths are maintained by the Castle and all local visitors are given free access to use.
Creation of new paths and nature trails The Estate has produced it's own map highlighting trails created by Ashford Castle and Coillte.
Installation of effective and welcoming signage The Estate signage lists the rules to follow while visiting the grounds and thanks all guests for their patronage.
Providing opportunities for other recreation (e.g. fishing) A wide range of activities and amenities are available for guest to enjoy with our compliments during their stay. These include golf, tennis, Xbox or Playstation games consoles are available in-room on request, twice daily movie screenings in the cinema, bicycles, a morning walk with our Irish Wolfhounds, meet the local librarian to discuss Ashford’s unique collection of books, welcome drink on arrival, estate & local area shuttle service and WiFi.
Partnership conservation and access projects (e.g. community woodland) We support financially the listed historical sites of the two Churches in Cong.
Continuation of traditional agricultural activities We continue the practice of foraging and grow our own vegetables on the Estate. Wild mushrooms, wild gorse, wood sorrel, pine, moss white garlic white leek, and seasonal berries are all available on the Estate.

The following archaeological and heritage surveys have been carried out at this golf facility:

Title Author Date View document
Tree Care MAnagement Noel Lane 2014/04/04 Download

This golf facility consults the following organizations regarding the conservation of cultural heritage:

  • Green Tourism

This golf facility undertakes the following activities to conserve cultural heritage features:

Activity Description
Buildings (Listed Buildings / Ancient Monuments etc) A restoration of this 800-year-old building costing $75m was completed in April 2015. All 83 of the rooms were either rebuilt or restored to include the while retaining the original features of the castle. Wherever possible, materials and pieces have been sourced from local artisans and suppliers.
Archaeology (Settlements / Agricultural System etc) The old walls that surround the Castle still remain and were tidied up during the renovation.
Historic Features (Hedgerows / Dykes / Moats / Cairns etc) Previously unused areas have been respectfully, masterfully restored, including: Under-castle cellar and tunnel, long abandoned for a century. Oak Hall gallery, careful dismantled and fortified

Communications

This golf facility undertakes the following internal environmental communications:

Activity Description
Provision of newsletters, notice boards & poster display All new team team members receive Environmental training. We communicate through the Green Team, hold awareness weeks, are gold members of Green Tourism UK and Green Hospitality Ireland. We communicate to our guests through our website and in house literature. We have green staff notice boards.
Members evenings and course walks No members, guests only.
Course guides / brochures We have completed course guides and brochures.
Establishment of a nature trail There are nature trails located around the woods and walking maps highlighting biodiversity.

This golf facility undertakes the following social and environmental advocacy activities:

Activity Description
Website, press releases & brochures Yes.
Supporting campaigns Charity Golf day to raise money for Hand in Hand.
Course walks / open days Local community invitation to open day.
Attending community meetings Assist following community groups: Cong Festival Committee, Cong Parish Historical Society, Cong Tidy Towns, Congolians Youth Group, Cunga Cycling Club, Foróige Club, St. Fechin’s Senior Citizens Club, The ‘Other Abbey’ Players.
Joint practical projects with community A hugely successful movement led by Ashford Castle, The Lodge at Ashford castle and other local business is the “Cong Food village”. The focus is completely on food – growing it, making it, cooking it, sharing it and eating it! Cong Food Village’s aim is to educate our youth on good quality food and where it comes from. To put Cong on the Map as a good quality food destination.