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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! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Celt Traditional Skills Galway

CELT – Promoting Sustainable Living and Nature Conservation

CELT, founded in 2001, is a national charity for environmental education and training and is an award-winning
provider of training in traditional and ecological skills, focused on promoting caring for the environment and living in a sustainable manner by using locally sourced natural and recycled materials to make the things we need – tools, buildings, furniture, utensils, sports equipment and toys. 
The CELT ‘Weekend in the Woods’ events are held 2 – 3 times a year at Slieve Aughty Centre (Loughrea, Co. Galway) attracting 100’s of participants interested in learning ecological and traditional skills and knowledge and also because of the scenic rural location and opportunity to enjoy the outdoors in between learning modules.
CELT is a member of AONTAS (National Association for Adult Education), achieving Special Commendation in their
Star Awards (2007) and has won numerous awards from the Heritage Council for traditional skills training and for
biodiversity projects (every year, 2002 – 2014) and were also first runners-up in the national Green Awards 2013
and in the eco-communities section of the national Pride of Place competition 2014.

Weekend In The Hills, Festival of Traditional Crafts.

Join us for two days of traditional skills courses taught by some of the countries leading craftspeople.
May 11th and 12th 2019 at eco and organic destination Slieve Aughty Centre in county Galway. 

Book your place or give someone you love the gift of a CELT Gift Voucher for a course of their choice! 

Shop Online Here >>
Courses include:

In the meantime connect with us on:
Twitter: @celtnet ; Facebook /celtskills or visit us online at www.celtnet.org
 

Activity breaks in Ireland

Family Fun, Activities and EcoTourism at Slieve Aughty Centre, Loughrea, Co Galway

Mixed Metals WorkshopSlieve Aughty Centre (which comprises also of the fabulous Three Towers Eco House and Restaurant)  has a great range of events and activities coming up over the next few months including:

Pizza Party Fridays Are Back!

Every Friday evening at 7pm enjoy a delicious organic pizza with your choice of toppings, fired up in our clay oven.  €5 per child and €10 for adults.  Book Now.
our-famous-pizza-parties
  For more information on any of the above contact 
Slieve Aughty Centre, Kylebrack West, Loughrea, Co. Galway
+353 (0) 90 974 5246 www.slieveaughtycentre.com
Facebook: slieveaughtyequestrianandactivitycentre

Juice Detox & Yoga Retreat: Your Spring Cleanse 2016

3 Day Juice Cleanse & Yoga Eco Retreat

detox retreats IrelandIt’s You Time !

Your Spring Cleanse – March 10th – 13th 2016

Revitalise, Rejuvenate & Cleanse Your Body

For more info, booking & gift vouchers click here!

  • 3 day Juice Cleanse with mixes of delicious fruit & vegetables, & Superfood Green Alkalising smoothies by Living Foods Ireland.
  • Daily gentle Yoga and Meditation to enhance cleansing of body, mind & spirit.
  • Qi Gong to compliment Yoga and enhance awareness of the body’s natural energy flow.
  • Mindfulness Walks in native Irish woodlands to experience deeper connection with Self & Nature.
  • Additional optional techniques to compliment your cleanse/detox process…oil pulling, salt water gut flush, neti pot nasal flush.
  • Creative tactile nature art/craft with clay & willow.
  • Unconditional love from our furry animal therapists…horses, sheep, dogs & cats.

 Optional Extras

  • Therapeutic massage
  • Totem animal imagery
  • Transport by prior arrangement from Shannon airport or town of Gort.  Ask us for more info!

Benefits of Our Retreat

  • Cleansing of the digestive tract and enhancement of the lymphatic system.
  • Optimise digestive health, reduce bloating & alleviate irritation.
  • Weight loss is a by-product of any cleanse or fasting program, but is not the sole aim of our program.  You will lose plenty though!
  • Energy & vitality is enhanced as much less energy is expended on digestion & waste removal.
  • Emotional & mental clarity are enhanced, tending toward a more calm and tolerant disposition.
  • Hormonal & other physiological systems naturally tend to normalise.
  • Enhanced self esteem.
  • Highlight eating, consumption & behavioural patterns that do not serve us well.

Click here to book your place now!

Chill Out This Autumn

Chilled Out Seasonal Events This Autumn

Autumn is my favourite time of year. I love the colours, the feeling of settling down for the winter and the slowing down of everything.
This does not mean an end to activities though as I love to take this reflective time to create and learn. With this in mind there are some lovely events coming up that may be of interest.
Autumn

Seaweed Cookery Demo with Marie Power

On Wednesday, the 14th of October at 8pm Marie Power, the Sea Gardener, will be giving a cookery demonstration and talk on the benefits of seaweed at Brownes Farmhouse Dungarvan. In response to requests from seaweed enthusiasts, she has developed a range of innovative sweet & savoury foods using seaweed, under The Sea Gardener label.
These will be available on the night!
More Details Here >>

Natural Cosmetic Making Workshops:

Vivienne Campbell is a much sought after herbalist who gives workshops on the uses of natural ingredients for cosmetics and wellbeing. She is holding two natural cosmetic making workshops this November, one in Gorey Co Wexford on 7th and one in Ennis Co Clare on the 1st November. These make great personal Christmas gifts too!
More Details Here >>

Natural Soap Making Workshop

I have a friend who makes her own soap and swears that it is addictive!  Nature lover & Holistic practitioner Angela Healy of Willow Cottage at Wells House is giving a one day soap making workshop on November 8th where you can learn how to make your own 100% natural moisturising coconut and olive oil soaps using the traditional cold process method.
More Details Here >>
sloes

Incidentally it’s also the time of year to make sloe gin and elderberry liquors... great gifts at any time of the year! Yum!

Here’s a great video on how to make Rose Hip Oil for your face too:

 
 

Learn About Wild Food, Foraging and More

Wild Food Summer School 2015 #WFSS15

Blackstairs Ecotrails are holding their second Wild Food Summer School this September – 11,12 & 13th at the lovely ‘Old Rectory in Killedmond, Carlow.

They have added a number of new events and made it a much more family friendly event this year with a brilliant line up for kids on the Saturday and for all you foodies out there!
he-Forager-Handbook-Edible-BritainThere’ll be the chance to forage with  Miles Irving Author of the Forager’s Handbook – The Bible for foragers, on Friday at 11.20am, 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!
For more information or to book your place visit  www.blackstairsecotrails.ie/wild-food-summer-school/
Tickets cost €60 (Friday only), €80 (Saturday only), €60 (Sunday only) or €190 for the full weekend. 

Wild Food Summer School 2015

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

Seaweed Forage Waterford This Saturday

Seaweed Forage with The Sea Gardener

We are DELIGHTED  to welcome our newest member, The Sea Gardener aka Marie Power to Eco Active! 
Come along this Saturday 18th July to experience her unique foraging event on the beautiful Copper Coast in Waterford.

Seaweed Forage Saturday July 18th on The Copper Coast, Waterford
We’ll meet on Saturday at Mother McHugh’s pub in Fenor village at 1pm on Saturday and travel to beach from there – 5 mins away.
(Fenor is about 6 km west of Tramore on the Coast Rd.).
We will identify the edible seaweeds, talk about the nutrients in the different species, along with cooking tips and using it in the garden.
And we’ll have a small picnic of seaweed-based foods to taste after the forage.
We should finish around 3.30 pm.
You’ll be on the rocks, so wear comfortable, waterproof shoes – wellies are OK, as are Reef sandals, Crocs or old runners you don’t mind getting wet..
And wear a few warm layers as it might be cooler on the shore.
It’s €25 and I will have copies of The Sea Garden too if you want to purchase.

To Book Email: info@theseagardener.ie or Tel: +353(0)86 8124275

Foraging, Cookups and Family Fun

Eco Events Coming Up

Wild Food Summer School 2015

wildfood-summer-schoolThe second Wild Food Summer School will be held on September 11th,12 & 13th 2015 at the Old Rectory, Killedmond, Borris, Co. Carlow in the Blackstairs Ecotrails Eco Centre. Enjoy three days of foraging, debate, cook ups, great talks, demonstrations,Soap Box Talks,a selection of workshops and lots of stalls showcasing local artisan food.
Early booking advised – For more details click here >>

Guided heritage walk with a taste of shellfish along the Wild Atlantic Way at Strandhill in Sligo.

taste of sligo shellfish walkExperience a guided tour of an ancient shell midden site on stunning Culleenamore Strand with Auriel Robinson of Seatrails, where you will be greeted by Tra Ban Restaurant’s Head chef Mostafa Dadowah and proprietor Anthony Gray who will amaze you with an outdoor feast of fresh mussels cooked on an open fire.
July 26th – Pre booking essential!
For more details click here >>

Family Fun Eco Farm August Bank Holiday Weekend

family fun at crann og eco farm Enjoy a weekend of fun outdoor activities in the fabulous family friendly Crann Og Eco Farm – camp onsite or call for accommodation options.
Activities include Outdoor games in sand arena, Forest school & bushcraft, Nature arts, Campfire cooking , Slackline, Self defence, Sword fighting, Bellydancing ,Yoga for young and old, Farm yard activities, Pond dipping , Veg garden exploration, Face painting, Fancy dressing &  Campfire with storytelling, drumming, singing and much more! Booking essential – For more details click here >>

Weekend in the Hills Celt Workshop

celt workshopWeekend in the Hills is an exciting CELT (Centre for Environmental Learning and Teaching)2 day traditional skills workshop. Choose from basket weaving, long bow making, natural building, herbal remedies and lots more, including special workshops for children. September 26th and 27th 2015. For more details click here >>

KEEP UPDATED ON OUR EVENTS AT WWW.ECOACTIVETOURISM.COM

Woodland Conservation Walk at Crann Og Eco Farm

A guided walk in the woods with ecological experts.

Woodland Conservation Walk“….A guided walk in the woods with ecological experts.

Learn the methodology and intricacies of developing an interpretive trail in an ecologically sensitive area.
Dr Cilian Roden, Gordon D’Arcy, Jack Roberts and Andrew St Ledger .
Venue:  Crann Og Eco Farm.
A guided walk in the woods with ecological experts.