June Events

Walking Tours and Holidays at Top Of The Rock

2016 Walking Tours in West Cork

Top Of The Rock Walking Tours (and pod park) have a number of interesting walks taking place throughout 2016 including:

St Finbarrs PathSt Finbarr’s Pilgrim Walk Easter Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th March 2016.
Leaving aside the spiritual benefits for a moment, this walk is a truly magnificient journey which goes “up and over” three mountain systems and four valleys, namely the Ilen, Mealagh, Ouvane and Lee valley basins.
Walking Breaks West CorkSheeps Head and St Finbarr’s Walking week 15th-20th May 2016:
A four day walking tour from the SHEEPS HEAD lighthouse to St Finbarr’s hermitage at GOUGANE BARRA, with five nights’ accommodation at the Top of the Rock Pod Páirc and Walking Centre.

Poets people and placesPoets people and places walking week 19th-24th June

A walking tour with Richard Whyte who has a huge love of poetry and all things to do with nature. As one walks with Richard he will pull just the right piece of poetry out of his top pocket and recite it on the spot.
Walking Holidays Ireland September 2016Walking the Sheep’s Head and St Finbarr’s Pilgrim Path for September Walking Week 18th-23rd September
A four day walking tour from the SHEEPS HEAD lighthouse to St Finbarr’s hermitage at GOUGANE BARRA, with five nights’ accommodation at the Top of the Rock Pod Páirc and Walking Centre designed to give you a taste for Irish life and landscape.
For more information on any of the above or to arrange a custom tailored walking tour visit Topoftherock.ie
 

Seaweed Foraging Events 2015

The Sea Gardener Foraging Events & Workshops

Marie Power aka The Sea Gardener runs a number of seaweed foraging events throughout the year and is found at many of the food festivals nationwide. She also provides individual and customized events such as Seaweed Cookery Workshops, Picnics and Seaweed Sessions With Friends!
 2014 Events

  • April 12 & 13
    Forages & Cookery Demos, Dungarvan Food Festival
  • May 1
    Talk at Wexford Wildfowl Reserve. Wexford Field Naturalists Club
  • May 17
    Seaweed Forage, Baginbun Beach. WFNC
  • May 18
    Seaweed Forage, Bealtaine Festival, Kilfarassey, Co. Waterford
  • June 15
    Cookery Demo with Cycle Forage at The Tannery to celebrate Bike Week
  • June
    Cookery Demo, The Bay Cafe, Dunmore East Food Festival
  • July 27
    Beach Picnic & Forage, Kilfarassey
  • August 10
    Beach Walk & Forage, Rathmoylan & Ballymacaw, Co.Waterford
  • Sept 10
    Waterford Harvest Festival
    October
    Bia Bofinne, Inishbofin Food Festival
  • October
    Dingle Food Festival

 For more details Theseagardener.ie or Follow Marie on Twitter:@TheSeaGardener

Events At Crann Og Eco Farm

Crann Og Eco Friendly Accommodation

Crann Og Eco Farm are based in Gort, Co Galway. Last year we met up with Florian and Marion during our nationwide Ecotour and had a tour around the farm which offers a lesson in self sustainability and upcycling!
Crann Og offer eco friendly accommodation plus run a number of events and workshops throughout the year , some of which are listed below:

  • February 1: Imbolc
  • March 30 – April 2: Huath Forest School Education Part 1
  • May 1: Beltaine
  • June 25 – 28: Moonlodge Sister Meeting
  • July 9 – 12: Huath Forest School Education Part 2
  • August 2: Lughnasa
  • November 2: Samhain

Marion’s yoga classes are on every Monday and Tuesday (please call before coming)and we might be lucky enough to start a weekly belly dance class here in 2015.
Apart from the list above, we are also planning on the following events and workshops:

  • TeeNature,
  • Eco Family Days around the Celtic
    Year Celebrations,
  • Weekends designed by us with various activities
  • Irish Experience weeks, etc.

For the latest updates visit the events page on crann-og.net here >>
crann og eco farm gort

Ballybunion Ecotreks with Danny

Ecotrek Ballybunion -Walking Holidays in Kerry

Ecotrek Ballybunion is a unique personal guided tour with local historian and pipe player Danny Houlihan. Danny has vast local knowledge of the area and is a pleasure to listen to as he tells tales of ancient chiefs, local heroes and you can even have a go at playing the uilleann pipes!
He offers tours to small groups and ( upon appointment) individuals taking them around the stunning coastal scenery of Ballybunion in gorgeous Co Kerry. The trails are part of The Wild Atlantic Way – Possibly the wildest parts!!
Open year round – booking essential.
Call Danny today on +353 (0)87 353613 – it’s best to call him than email 🙂
Read about our recent trip to Kerry where we met up with Danny for a few hours >>
Find more links to Dannys’ Facebook, Twitter etc here >>
ecotrek-ballybunion
 
 

Trip To BallyBunion

BallyBunion Eco Tourism Trails

Last week I had the opportunity to go to Tralee in Co Kerry for a business Conference with my sister TweetingGoddess. I decided to make the most of my trip by also visiting Ballybunion during my stay so I called ahead and arranged to meet local historian and ecotrek founder Danny Houlihan of ecotrekballybunion.com.
Danny met me at the beach and we headed around his trail whilst he shared local information and vivid historic tales that would not be unusual in a Game of Thrones episode!
From a Chiefs sacrifice of his nine beautiful daughters to Fionn Mac Chumhaills epic battles Danny made the trip so interesting we even had passers by stopping to listen in and hear him play the pipes!
After my time with Danny we headed out of Ballybunion for a mile to visit Mike of Bromore Cliffs – This spectacular piece of scenery took our breath away and Mike was such a lovely friendly guy telling us about a local picnic that had been held in the field there the week before. It all sounded very famous five!
Mike also has a gorgeous self catering cottage available for rent and the best thing about all this is that it’s open in the winter months too! I’ll be heading down that way again soon to include a local cheesmaker and more so do check back as we will adding these trails to our website in the coming months. Meantime Here are some photos of the spectacular scenery available in Beautiful Ballybunion!

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Learn about Wild Herbs

Wild Herbal Workshops

Learn about wild herbs, their uses in medicine, cooking and in cosmetics. Forage for these wonders of nature in lovely green lanes, meadows and byways and after a delicious organic lunch guests will turn their wild herbs into culinary delights, cosmetic uses and natural remedies.
We will have a fully qualified herbalist with us, to discuss the medicinal aspects of herbs.
Delicious treats and herbal teas will be part of a goody bag to take home.

Next Dates:

  • Saturday June 28th,
  • Saturday July 26th.

Please note that a Minimum number 5 bookings is required for an event to go ahead. 
www.blackstairsecotrails.ie

Making Elderflower Champagne

My Elderflower Champagne Making Attempt #1

elderflower-bunchesYou may recall that last year I missed my window of opportunity to make elderflower champagne what with college and work, although I did manage to harvest the elderberries later in the year to make elderberry liquor of which I still have half a bottle!
This year life has begun to reach a balance so I have kept an eager eye on my elderflower tree and also on Twitter which is great for reminding me to do stuff!
So it is that today I managed to begin my first batch of elderflower champagne – fingers crossed eh?
I decided to follow Hugh Fearnley Whittingstalls’ recipe.
destalking
I also researched quite a few different recipes and took some of the readers’ comments and tips into account.
Hopefully as I pass them on here they may help you get creating your very own FREE summer party champagne!

What You need:

  •  A 7 litre bucket min
  • 15 Flowering heads of elderflower
  • pre-mixing4 lemons – juice and grated rind
  • 700g sugar
  • 2 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar – I used Aspalls
  • You may later need A pinch of dried yeast – see below for suggested type of yeast.


Notes:

  • ingredients-added-togetherI have read many differing views on the best time to pick your elderflowers- morning or later in the afternoon.. but all agree that it must be a warm sunny day – I picked my first batch at around 6pm on a hot afternoon – there were puffs of pollen coming off them as I picked them and as this is what your looking for I considered it a good sign- guess we’ll see..
  • I gently ran my fingernails over the flower stems to detach the flowers from the stem – it took me about an hour and a half so get comfy!
  •  Note that the stems and leaves are toxic – ” Separate the flowers from the stalks, trying to remove as much of the stems as you can (a few are fine, but too many can be toxic).

TOP TIP:
Since writing this blog I got a top tip from expert forager Fraser Christian who recommended to:”rub the flower heads in a circular motion between cupped hands”.. 
The Recipe and method that I Intend to follow can be found here:
http://www.channel4.com/4food/recipes/chefs/hugh-fearnley-whittingstall/elderflower-champagne-recipe#comments-top
Tips & Suggestions:
From the comments of Channel4.com Recipes Page:

  •  muslin-coveredTo avoid explosions, use strong bottles and strong seals.
  • It’s ok to use coke bottles/supermarket water  bottles – I would pay attention to how strong they feel though-see above.
  • Let the gas out every day
  • Using plastic bottles reduces risk of injury IF a bottle does explode
  • ” The trick is not to over fill them, and then as you are screwing the top on to squash them a little to expel as much air as you can. Then as the secondary fermentation kicks in, it produces co2 which pushes the bottle back into shape and hopeful there is still enough gas to make it fizzy!”
  • Water should be warm to hot(around 40 degreesC) when adding the flower petals
  • Leave some space in the bottle for the gas – Let out the gas DAILY!!!
  • “If unsure, just stick to plastic…but not Robinson bottles…they are not designed to take pressure…try fizzy drinks bottles which are designed to hold liquids under pressure.”
  • After 2 days, if no foam/bubbles at all then add the yeast as described.
  •  With the yeast, it’s probably best to stir the potion every day and that should keep from getting mouldy.
  • baker’s yeast should work fine
  • champagne yeast made the drink very alcoholic
  • Last year I added strawberry cordial which gave good results – much safer to try this way – you can buy good quality cordial from supermarkets and probably get more flavour for your money than buying fresh strawberries. You can also experiment by adding other concoctions when bottling – try adding creme de cassis for a Kir Royale; or white rum if you want to blow your head off.

I suggest you read through the channel 4 comments to get an idea of what other people have experienced, the above are just my favourites 🙂
Here’s to bolly darlings! x
 
 
 

Micro Adventures this Summer in Ireland

Experience something new with our MicroAdventures!

Summers here and let’s face it – In Ireland it’s usually pretty short so we gotta make the most of it!  With this in mind we will be posting category based blogs on the microadventures you can experience this Summer here in Ireland.

Today we are starting with Adventure Tours!

3 Day Odyssey Adventure in the Burren, Co Clare

explore the burrenThis 3 day adventure odyssey package based in the Burren Co Clare includes a Burren rocks walk, half day climbing, sea kayaking session, accommodation, meals and much more. Local guide Christy provides indepth historical knowledge on points of interest dating back to the bronze age. Food is sourced from local producers many of which are part of the Burren Ecotourism group and you will also get to do a bit of beer tasting.
Definately one for both outdoor and foodie lovers!
For full details of this tour click here >>


Rathdrum and Avondale Famine Walk (3 hours)

enjoy this historical famine walk This guided looped walk is through a famine graveyard, woodland trails and alongside riverways with beautiful views of this wonderful part of County Wicklow.
Enjoy the area’s surprising history and heritage with your local guide and afterwards head to local Pub Jacobs Well to enjoy Warming Soup and Brown Bread included in the price.
Perfect for all ages and levels and especially suited for fabulous photo taking!
For full details of this tour click here >>


Day  Activity Tours from Dublin with Terry

tours irelandTake a break from the old town and head out to Dublins’ doorstep- full of countryside fun, with Day Tours Wicklow. These tours are run daily from a variety of pick up points in Dublins’ city centre and you can hop off the tour bus and get out into the Irish Country side to enjoy a Guided walk, Horse Riding or Cycling.
After your activity the tour continues on through the valleys and glens of the Wicklow Mountains visiting many of Wicklow’s wonderful highlights along the way, including Enniskerry (film location of “P.S. I Love You” and “Leap Year”), Wicklow Mountain National Park, Sally’s Gap, Lough Tay, the Guinness Lake (film location of “Excalibur” and “Brave Heart”), Glenmacnass Waterfall, Glendalough. You will stop for a bite to eat in either Poppies in Enniskerry (Good Country cuisine) or along the way before visiting Glendalough and its 6th century monastic site returning to Dublin afterwards.
For full details of this tour click here >>


Pan For Gold in Avoca, Co Wicklow

gold panning You just might strike gold in the beautiful vale of Avoca where  a large nugget of gold of the 22 oz variety which, local legend has it, was found in this valley and made into a snuff box for King George VI. Gold has just been rediscovered in the Avoca area by a large mining company, with a view to mining it in the near future. This tour promises lots of fun and gold panning activity, use of All Gold Panning Equipment, warming Avoca Cafe soup and brown bread (hot chocolate for the kids), and Avoca Mill Tour also.
For full details of this tour click here >>


From Grain to Bottle Walking Whiskey Tour, Slane, Co Meath

ROCK FARM SLANERock Farm Slane – This is the first season of walking tours on the Slane Castle estate and in celebration this tour will be given by Alexander Mount Charles focussing on the production of whiskey from the barley trials at Rock Farm to the distillery project at Slane Castle for a tasting of Irish whiskeys.
This unique tour  includes 2 hour walk, Slane Food Circle lunch at Slane Castle café (45 minutes); followed by 40 minute tour of castle and 1 hour distillery project tour and whiskey tasting.
For full details of this tour click here >>

FOR MORE TOUR ADVENTURES KEEP AN EYE ON OUR TOURS CATEGORY HERE >>

 

Amazing Food Tour June Bank Hol

Rock Farm Slane Electric Bike Tours presents

Boyne Valley Food Series – Special Offer

Slane Food Circle 25km Menu – Food Tour by Electric Bike
Monday 2nd June 2014
ROCK FARM SLANERock Farm Slane is an ecotourism provider that specialises in walking and bike tours of the Slane Castle estate and the wider Boyne Valley.
We also have a Boutique Eco Camp with 7 Yurts and Shepherds Huts which sleep up to 28 people sharing.
This is the first season of Slane Food Circle electric bike tours making use of these brilliant Pedelec (pedal-assisted) bikes to transport cyclists and non-cyclists alike around a beautiful undiscovered part of the Boyne Valley beyond Slane in the valleys of the Rathkenny Ridges

Slane Food Circle Electric Bike Tour

This tour is based on a one-day 25km food tour by electric bicycle through the Boyne Valley taking in the following destinations. The tour will be hosted by Carina Mount Charles organic farmer and ecotourism guide.

  • Rock Farm Slane
    The tour will begin at Rock Farm Slane at with tea/coffee, and a platter of goodies from our clay oven, served from 9.30am at the Strawbale Farm Office.
    Tour Length: 1 hour including tea and 
    coffee
  • Cycle to Shalvanstown Organic Farm
    A Slane Food Circle lunch to be served at Shalvanstown upon
    arrival. Tour Length: 1 hour including walk to Fox’s Cottage
  • Cycle to Mullagha Farm – Boyne Valley Blue Cheese.
    The tour will be conducted by the awarding winning cheese producer Michael Finegan who will introduce us to his herd of goats and explain to us his method of cheese making.
    1 ½ hour including lunch (Slane Food Circle cold meat and cheese platter with organic salads)
  • Cycle to Des Crinion, Organic Farm
    We will visit Des’s animals including sheep, chickens, polytunnels and learn about the many organic farm enterprises Des has been involved with.
    Tour: 1 hour tour inc pudding stop for Des’s organic ice-cream
  • Cycle to The Cider Mill, Cockagee Cider
    The tour will end with a visit to The Cider Mill to meet Mark
    Jenkinson and learn about the long lost Irish Cider “cac a gheidh”. Tour Length: 1 hour tour including cider tasting
  • Departure 5:30pm Cycle back to Rock Farm Slane.

COSTS

  • 1 day Guided Tour + Ebike Hire + lunch + tasting + refreshments€65 per person (inc VAT)
  • When: Monday 02nd June 2014  9.30am – 6pm

FOR INDEPTH INFORMATION ON THIS TOUR PLEASE DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE >>
Maximum party size: 15 
Electric bikes available: 10 electric bikes.
* More electric bikes are available. However places will be allocated on a first-come-first served basis and Rock Farm Slane will need plenty of notice to offer additional electric bikes.
* Please enquire for price (info@rockfarmslane.ie) if you’d like to bring your own bike or hire a hybrid non-electric bike for the tour.
ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS 
Further discounts are available on overnight accommodation at Rock Farm’s boutique campsite www.rockfarmslane.ie/boutique-camping.

www.rockfarmslane.ie
(T) 041 988 4861 www.facebook/RockFarmSlane
Twitter: @RockFarmSlane

Foraging Meath Update

Foraging Workshop at Girley Bog, Kells, County Meath

This event has been cancelled due to unforseen circumstances! 09 june 2014
Learn about edible hedgerow plants and flowers, discover what plant families are safe to eat and which to avoid and learn about this Natural Heritage Area Raised Bog.
Includes picnic with flower cordial, seaweed oatcakes, spring green pesto and other tasty titbits.
Recipes and resources for further foraging.
 
For more information on this event click here >>