Charlie and Dearbhaill are a husband and wife duo as well as new experience hosts at their home Cnoc Suain in Galway. Charlie, a natural scientist with 40 years teaching experience, invites visitors to share in real Irish experiences, with an introduction to the natural wonders of the Connemara bogland while Dearbhaill helps visitors explore Connemara’s Gaelic culture and celebrate authentic Irish heritage.
In 2013, the couple’s daughters suggested they list their restored thatched cottage on Airbnb at a key moment. Charlie says, “at the time Ireland was suffering the after-effects of the 2008 economic crash and the number of visitors to the west of Ireland had declined significantly. It was proving very difficult for a small rural family-owned business to find a route to market. Our Airbnb listing, combined with the imaginative marketing of the Wild Atlantic Way by Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland, has proven to be a very successful blend for us, with guests arriving at Cnoc Suain from all over the world.”
The Superhosts who successfully rehabilitated 200 acres of stunning ancient landscape with ruins of cottages dating back to the 17th century into what Cnoc Suain has become, are now branching out to offer unique Experiences on Airbnb which celebrate Irish heritage and promote sustainability.
Dearbhaill who met her husband while teaching in Dublin says their shared background and passion for education has also come in handy, “our experience as educators has helped us devise innovative cultural experiences that are participatory, informative and fun!”
Together, their passion for Connemara’s Gaelic culture, nature & landscape comes across in the experiences they now offer. Dearbhaill says, “Cnoc Suain is a place that embodies Connemara’s heritage and one we can highlight, promote and share with others along with valuable local cultural and natural resources – cultúr, dúlra, dúchas. We want to encourage guests to explore deeper into the region, visiting out-of-the-way places such as ‘Lúibín Garumna’ (Garumna Loop) – a walking trail in Ceantar na hOileán, the archipelago of Gaeltacht Islands in southwest Connemara – and seeking out other local places of interest.”
It’s also about the knock-on effect that this sort of local tourism creates. With their knowledge and pride in all things local, Charlie and Dearbhaill are able to offer guests suggestions on places to visit, on and off the beaten track. Charlie adds, “Our guests on Airbnb, while gaining insights into a distinct indigenous culture and place will, in turn, be contributing towards the sustainability of small enterprises and supporting the local economy and community.”