Upcoming Courses

Learn About Wild Food, Foraging and More

Mushroom Hunts Wild Food Summer School

For the latest Fungi Workshops with Blackstairs Ecotrails Visit  https://www.blackstairsecotrails.ie/fungi/


he-Forager-Handbook-Edible-BritainWild Food Summer School – There was  the chance to forage with  Miles Irving Author of the Forager’s Handbook – The Bible for foragers,  cheese making workshops, use of herbs and wild foods in cooking workshops, artisan food stalls, as well as GIY talks and Wild food & Craft Beer pairings

More foraging, more great speakers, films, music,  Artisan Food stalls, Cheese making and  events for children. We also have a retrofitted ambulance  giving workshops on Up Cycling, Composting etc., facilitated by the Community Reuse Network Ireland (CRNI)
wildfood-summer-school

Eco Friendly Christmas Gift Ideas For Nature Lovers

With the global focus on Sustainabilty many of us are conscious about making our Christmas Gifts more eco friendly in some way. So what do you give the eco conscious person in your life as a Christmas gift that will please them and support sustainable enterprise? I’ve put together a few ideas….

Giving a gift that encourages in interest in nature, the planet and buying local are all great gift ideas for nature lovers. This list is intended to inspire and encourage exactly that.

Give the gift of an Eco Friendly Experience with a Gift Voucher…

There are lot’s of exciting experiences that are nature friendly and encourage awareness yet still manage to be fun! Here are my personal favourites each of which I have either experienced myself or know someone who has and can 100% recommend!

Beekeeping Courses Croan Cottages
Beekeeping Courses at Croan Cottages

You could buy a Gift Voucher for a Beekeeping or Smallholding Course at Croan Cottages or go wild on a Water based adventure with Boyne Valley Activities. I had an amazing trip with James where he took me out on a Canadian canoe for a heritage tour – read about it here >>

Day On Water
Heritage Tour on a Canadian Canoe with James – Boyne Valley Activities

How about gifting a Seaweed Cookery Kit or a Beach Walk and Cook Up with the Sea Gardener or join a group for a Wild Food Foraging Experience with Crann Og Eco Farm… Both are run by fabulous people and you will learn how to identify wild food and even get to sample some with other like minded people.

Irelands Ancient Feast Sea Gardener Forage and Feast EcoActiveEvents
Irelands’ Ancient Feast with The Sea Gardener

Many of our members offer workshops and events throughout the year and you can buy gift cards or book in advance for most of them – for example Bumblebee Farm offer a variety of workshops and events throughout the year from Wreath making to Flora, Fauna and Food Events.

edible-flower suppliers-ireland
Edible Flowers from Bumblebee Farm

Another nice gift idea is to give the Gift of relaxation and mindfulness with a Yoga Voucher at AnantaYogaStudio or a holistic massage at Soul to Sole Therapies – we Irish don’t do enough of this sort of thing and it is SO GOOD for you! Seriously, if you do one new thing in 2020 get a massage regularly and go to a Yoga workshop or class, even just once!

All of the above are wonderful nature friendly things to do and make great eco friendly gift ideas but of course there is also the option of visiting an eco friendly destination and staying in some authentic yet cosy accommodation and here are a few of my favourites that I visited on my ecotour:

Give an Eco Break as a Gift this Christmas!

Glamping at Rock Farm Slane
Glamping at Rock Farm Slane

Give the gift of an eco staycation at Rock Farm Slane – They offer very cosy and pretty glamping yurts and shepherds huts. You can even enjoy a tour on their electric bikes like we did or just chill in the outdoor hot tub! Or treat someone to a wholesome farm based BB break at Lough Bishop House with Christopher and Helen ( Helen makes the most amazing granola!)

Helen and Christopher Kelly of Lough Bishop House
Helen and Christopher Kelly of Lough Bishop House

If you REALLY want to get away from it all I can heartily recommend a stay at Tawnylust lodge in lovely Leitrim! Nuala is a charm and her ecofriendly cabin is a world away from our busy lives. She can even help you plan a local experience such as canoeing, foraging, walking or an electric bike ride. We love Nuala and her Guna!

tawnylust lodge
Tawny Lust Lodge Leitrim

Family breaks with an eco ethos that will delight kids of all ages is an eco break to The Three Towers at Slieve Aughty Centre! Beautiful rooms, organic food, horse riding, fairy trails, arts and crafts, pizza nights – it has everything for a really special family staycation!

The Three Towers Eco House

Fancy gifting a trip to West Cork with a nice cuppa over the outdoor fire? Top Of The Rock Pod Pairc is the place to go for walkers, nature lovers and those just looking for a bit of peace and quiet.

stay at Top Of The Rock

So you see, there are lot’s of great eco friendly businesses offering sustainable services and gifts that won’t cost the Earth… Tell them Roz sent you! 😉

Nature and Nurture Retreat with Sarah Fox

Nature and Nurture Yoga & Foraging Retreat, Kilkenny

How did you celebrate St Patricks’ Day?

I took myself along to Kilmacow in Co Kilkenny which is located on the the Waterford border for a unique restorative day with Sarah Fox of Shining Light Wellness.  Sarah runs a number of Yoga and Herbal Medicine Retreats throughout the country and teaches Yoga at many venues including Earthwise Yoga in Bree,Co Wexford where I recently did my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training.
Having trained with Sarah I knew about her indepth knowledge of plants and herbal medicine and this, along with ‘Yoga by the fire’ is what attracted me to this particular event. 
So, having arrived bright and early (thank goodness for Google Maps!) Sarahs’ lovely mum Mary welcomed me into the house where there was some very excellent coffee and homemade oat, orange and chocolate treats awaiting. Once all the guests had arrived we relaxed and had a chat over coffee/ homemade herbal teas, getting to know one another. I was personally delighted to see the lovely Orlaith, one my ex Yoga student colleagues there and without further ado we headed into the beautifully high ceiling Yoga room for a few hours of Chakra chanting and Yin Yoga.
Now, I for one was not a huge fan of chanting as it takes me outside my comfort zone, however, as Sarah explained each ‘seed’ word for each Chakra and what it related to I found myself enthusiastically joining in and literally began to feel my heart lighten and inner strength begin to vibrate and grow. When you attend a retreat like this it is good to remember that everyone is feeling a bit awkward at first so I do find it best to leave the ‘ego’ at the door and just jump in. 😉 
Bija ( Bija means seed) Mantras- The Sounds of the Chakras: LAM VAM RAM YAM HAM OM

  • “LAM”- chakra 1 (root)
  • “VAM”- chakra 2 (sacral/navel)
  • “RAM”- chakra 3 (solar plexus)
  • “YAM”- chakra 4 (heart)
  • “HAM”- chakra 5 (throat)
  • “OM”- chakra 6 (third eye/brow)
  • “OM”- chakra 7 (crown)

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Chanting was followed by some gorgeous Yin Yoga for joint and nervous system health, flexibility, mobility and integrity. We also used relaxation and breathing techniques where we held certain positions for a while enabling a full stretch and strengthening of the body before it was time for lunch.
Lunch was a delicious spread of homemade breads, fruits, banana pancakes (make using one banana, 2 eggs and a handful of oats), locally sourced jam and natural yoghurt. Seriously Yum! 
After lunch we headed out across the road to a nearby river for a spot of herbal medicine foraging. Sarah explained the uses of many plants including daisies – aerial parts all edible but also our national arnica (to relieve bruises)
She also explained how Plantain is good for tissues and anti-inflammatory thus also good for lung health and how Navel Wort (looks like a belly button plant) can be used as a natural Aloe Vera type plant. We gathered (after asking the plant first) some young nettles and headed back to the house for the creative part of the day.
Cosily ensconced in the kitchen dining room by a roaring fire Sarah proceeded to explain and demonstrate how to make a beautifully rich skin cream using dried marigold flowers, beeswax and organic sunflower oil – (she mentioned how grapeseed oil can help acne prone skin as an alternative to sunflower oil) which was blended together (again you will need to join Sarah on one of her workshops to find out the exact method) to form a delicious deep moisturising skincream- one which I lathered all over my body that evening and had the most restful sleep EVER waking up to feel supple and beautiful. Yay! 
We also made some amazing pesto using the nettles gathered earlier and mixed with some basil leaves, salt and pepper, cashew nuts, extra virgin olive oil and parmesan. Mmmm.  Sarah spoke of alternative ingredients as well as tinctures that can benefit a number of ailments including migraines. 
The conversation was of sharing and we swapped many recipes amongst ourselves one of which was a delicious sounding port for those of us who make sloe gin – using the gin soaked sloes after the sloe gin has been decanted and adding them to a mix of good quality red wine and brandy then leaving for 6 months or more for a stunning port. One I shall try this year….
After our homemade remedies we retired again to the Yoga room for a spell of active Yoga followed by a restful Yoga Nidra meditation to end the day. Dinner was to follow but I had to leave early unfortunately however it looked and smelt delicious – all vegetarian food – what a spread. Was gutted I had to leave but duty called. 
All in all I had a fantastic day and came home feeling inspired and happy. I recommend you check out Sarahs’ events on her Facebook page here as she offers a range of unique workshops and events sure to be of interest to many of our readers including one like this on April 14th – Booking essential!
Tell her we sent ya! 
Namaste!