It’s been all change at Carton House in recent times. New owners in the form of the Belmullet Hospitality Group. A new partnership with French hospitality giants Accor. A new name in Carton House, a Fairmont Managed Hotel. Investment has been significant across the Resort. The Hotel, Carriage House and Pro-Shop totally transformed but for each new direction, one thing has remained the same – Carton House’s unwavering commitment to the environment since the O’Meara Course first opened in 2002.
An 1,100 acre eco-system set between a forever expanding Maynooth on one side and the colossal Intel plant on the other, Carton House was first recognised for its work towards sustainability when receiving the ‘Committed to Green’ award in 2006, the highest environmental award at the time.
Today, Carton House, like many clubs around the country, is ‘OnCourse’ with the GEO, the Golf Environmental Organisation, making it easy for clubs to track their sustainability, with Carton on track for full certification in the coming year.
Coupled with their partnership with Accor, who have long boasted a strong environmental and sustainability programme, Planet 21, the hotel and golf course, and indeed the whole 1,100 acre estate is working towards the same goal of reducing their environmental impact in search of a greener future.
“I think golf courses in general are superb custodians of the landscape,” says Carton House Superintendent, John Plummer.
“If you compare it to any other possible land usage, your average golf course sits on anything from 100 to 200 acres. If that was compared to agriculture, any other industrial developments, housing etc, a golf course is a very green minder of the landscape.
“That’s always been the case but newer legislation and approaches to how we manage our golf courses are putting a focus on us being greener again, so the future is bright.”
Working under the Royal and Ancient Sustainability Guide, which was devised to make sustainability a key priority for golf around three key pillars – nature, communities and resources, Carton House is a leader when it comes to environmental practices, and much of that has to do with the uniqueness of the stunning Kildare estate:
Special Area of Conservation
Carton House is home to a special area of conservation which runs for three and a half kilometres through its two 300-acre golf courses. The habitat is full of rare species of flora and fauna while a herd of red deer, badgers, otters, foxes, owls, buzzards and hawks are just some of the wildlife you might encounter on a nature walk through the estate.
The River Rye
A rich salmon spawning ground that flows through the estate, the crystal clear water of the Rye has been key in replenishing salmon stocks for the river Liffey which is currently undergoing a rehab system.
Go to the Well for Water
Carton House’s very own welled water provides all required drainage for the 1,100 acres of its landscaped gardens.
The Bee’s knees
Beekeeping extraordinaire Tom Clancy keeps his own hives on-site and produces honey for an estate serving as an essential environment for bees to forage and thrive.
Plug it in
As part of new monitoring and managing of the carparks, the Resort has installed a number of electric car ports and at the rate electrical vehicles are quietly arriving to the Resort, more will be added soon.
Although still some way down the line given an ongoing reliance on diesel and petrol machinery, small steps are being made towards eliminating fossil fuels. The club’s whole buggy fleet are now battery powered while due to advancements in greenkeeping technology, brands such as Toro, Textron and John Deere are constantly introducing e-options on lots of their machinery, from hand mowers right up to triplexes, with Carton House at the top of the trialling queue as they look to reduce both environmental and noise pollution.
“We’re very happy that we have a really nice green belt,” concludes Plummer on Carton House’s ongoing role in the area.
“We’re a tight knit Resort that works closely with our community and neighbours. Not only are we a Golf Resort but we also have great public trails in the estate for walkers and we work with the rugby teams and soccer teams to come in so it’s a place of various interest groups.
“We’re also the home of Golf Ireland who have a fantastic reputation and do great work in protecting our environments. But this is very much a collective effort amongst the golf community around the country. We all very much share the same goal towards sustainability and I truly believe that everybody has a really good environmental approach.”
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