Christmas is a wonderful time to visit the island of Ireland and it’s easy to keep sustainability at the heart of your trip.

Christmas markets in Galway City

With festivals, markets, streets full of buskers and entertainers, buzzing bars and all manner of special events, the island of Ireland is bursting with festive cheer at Christmas.

Enjoying an eco-friendly break there means thinking ahead to how you’ll travel, where you’ll stay, what you’ll do and how you’ll spend your money. The good news is you’ll find lots of sustainable choices across the island.

The main cities on the island of Ireland are all worthy of a city break so if you’ve already been to Dublin why not consider Cork, Galway or Belfast? Each has a unique character and all are easily explored on foot.

GLOW – A Cork Christmas Celebration is a great reason to visit this historic city while Galway also lights up with its extensive Christmas market, funfairs and street entertainment and Belfast’s popular Continental Christmas Market takes over the grounds of the imposing City Hall.

Look for accommodation that is serious about sustainability. Wren Urban Nest claims to be the most sustainable place to stay in Dublin and is Ireland’s first net carbon hotel.

Belfast has a range of Green Tourism accredited hotels and the island’s other cities, towns and rural retreats have plenty of eco-friendly accommodation.

Walking and cycling are great ways to explore your surroundings but if you want to travel further check out the public transport options to keep your carbon footprint down.

Christmas of course is a time for shopping for gifts and here again it’s easy to do so eco-responsibly. Choose locally made crafts (often on sale at Christmas markets), sustainable clothing, upcycled furniture or recycled jewellery. Not only will you be helping the planet, but you’ll also get a unique gift.

On a Christmas break on the island of Ireland you’ll want to enjoy some great food and drink. Seek out restaurants that use only locally sourced ingredients to ensure you can enjoy your meal with a clear conscience. And you’ll get to taste the freshest food whether it’s freshly caught fish or organically grown vegetables.

Across the island of Ireland there are lots of food tours that will introduce you to local Christmas delicacies and at the same time give you an insight into the history and character of the city or region.

And there are lots more sustainable activities that you can enjoy from a trad music trail in Belfast to night kayaking off the coast of Cork or horse riding along pristine beaches in County Mayo.