Wild Herbs

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! 

Wellness Mama Natural Dry Hand Cream

Natural Cosmetics for Dry Hands

I Love the Wellness Mama website! She offers such lovely recipes for all sorts of ailments and beauty treatments all using natural ingredients, many of which you can grow yourself. As winter has landed so too has dryness on my hands so when I came across her latest blog on Google Plus  simply HAD to share it with you:

Gardeners Hand Salve
This particular salve contains many soothing herbs that help nourish dry skin and quickly heal any small cuts from gardening. It also leaves hands silky and soft, even if you aren’t a gardener. The dark green color of this salve comes from the many herbs that are infused into the oils and it has a delicious earthy and medicinal scent.
I prefer to make salves with dried herbs, as this reduces the chance of spoilage since no water is introduced to the oils from the leaves of the plants. Salves can also be made with essential oils, but I’ve found that this infused version is more effective and less likely to sting eyes if you accidentally rub them. It is also much less expensive than an essential oil version.
Any herbs can be used in this recipe, but I used these:

Read Wellness Mamas full blog here to find out how to make this wonderful salve! 

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)

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, Eco Breaks & Guided Tours

Eco Escapes Coming Up This Summer!

There are some great Eco Friendly things to do coming up over the coming months.

FORAGING WORKSHOP APRIL 12TH 2015Here are a few of our favs:

  • Wild Herb Workshop next Saturday June 13th in Co Carlow with Mary and Robert White of Blackstairs Eco Trails. Learn how to identify & prepare wild foods, includes a 3 course organic lunch!
  • A Guided Walking Tour of Yeats inspired Sligo with Auriel Robinson of Seatrails also on Saturday 13th June at Rosses Point.
  • An introduction to flower growing and arranging with Mags of Ruby Harte Floral Design – (The location alone is worth this trip! Check out our recent blog on visiting Mags at BumbleBee Farm in West Cork.) You will definitely be inspired to grow beautiful blooms after this visit.

SUP For AllThere are loads more interesting things to see and do including Whale watching, Chilling out with the family at Crann Og Eco Farm, Stand up Paddling at Lough Gill in Sligo ( fab-u-lous location!), Peace and quiet with local foraging walks at Tawny Lust Lodge in “Lovely Leitrim” (the cabin window stares directly across at beautiful mountain peaks), Electric bike trails and Glamping at Rock Farm Slane, Fabulous walks in West Cork with family friendly accommodation (campervans and camping also welcome) at Top of The Rock Pod Pairc, relaxing historical river tours with Boyne Valley Activities, Seaweed baths, organic Eco breaks for all the family at The Three Towers,… the list goes on and more are added every day so don’t you think it’s time to Go Eco and Get Active! 

Open Day At BumbleBee Flower Farm

Open Day 31st of May – Bloom in West Cork!

Those of you not attending Bloom in Dublin this May might be interested in making a weekend of it in beautiful West Cork with a visit to Ruby Hartes’ Organic Flower Farm.
Mags and Stephen are having an Open day on the flower farm where you can see how they grow and cut flowers for events and weddings as well as their new business of growing and providing edible flowers for restaurants nationwide.

Open day Sunday 31st May 2pm – 5pm. €5. In aid of Drimoleague walkways.
This will include musical entertainment and floral demonstrations which will be raffled off for some lucky people to take home with them.

may open day

We’ll be there! 

To Book email rubyharte@eircom.net or call mobile 086-8251380

Slieve Aughty Wild Food Forage

The Slieve Aughty Wild Food Forage with Robert & Mary White.

This years’ event was a sellout – next years is booking fast! An ideal Christmas gift or indeed something for oneself to enjoy – details below:
When: Saturday 25th April 2015 11am – 4:30pm
Where: The Three Towers at Slieve Aughty, Loughrea, Co Galway
How Much: €65 per adult, €10 per child under 12.
Learn all about wild foods in the beautiful woods of Kylebrack.
During this one day workshop, qualified experts will show you how to forage for a wide variety of safe wild food including leaves, wild herbs, edible flowers, and more!
The day will begin at 11 am with refreshments and an introductory talk in The Three Towers Eco House, followed by a forage in the surrounding woods.
After the forage we will come back to The Three Towers for an organic lunch followed by identification of specimens and preparation of what we found. Recipe’s and Information hand-outs included!
There will be a distinct focus on ethical and sustainable foraging.
Booking is essential and must be made before 1st April 2015. 50% deposit required to secure your reservation. Rain gear and hiking boots or wellingtons are a must!
To book this event contact Jenny on +353 90 9745246
More details on www.facebook.com/events/1513347428915103/

Coming Up August + September

Lot’s of Cool Stuff Happening

Fun Foraging Day for Families.

family foraging irelandA relaxing day in the wilds looking for wild safe foods including fungi, fruits, nuts and berries. Suitable for all the family.
Learn how to make Beech Leaf liqueur, Sorrel Tabbouleh and find wild greens for salads. Turn your hand to making Wild Garlic Pesto and delicious salads from the wild. View details >> 

Find It Pick It Cook It Eat It

wild leavesA workshop where you will forage for wild safe foods, learn what is good to eat, know the trees and bushes, what to pick and what not to pick.
After a delicious organic lunch you will turn all these wild foods into delicious drinks, pestos, fritters and more.
You will also go home with delicious wild foods and treats.

Canoe and Wild Camping Family Trips, 

Family Fun with Eco Active Ireland members“Paddle your own Canoe” breaks on the beautiful, peaceful and
interesting Barrow river.
Enjoy a holiday with everything you need supplied both in the form of equipment and also local information and suggested stop offs from ‘Go with the Flow’. 5 days/4 nights high season only €150 pp

Tapas Trail Dublin: Daily

tapas trails for foodiesTapas Trail Dublin’ offer regular tapas tours of Dublin where you get to try a number of tasty dishes at different venues in the city whilst also being entertained by their experienced and knowledgeable guides.
10% discount off all Dublin Tapas Trail bookings using the code: TodayFM if booked before 25 August 2014

Eco Surf Camps, Fanore Co Clare 

surf campsKids Eco Surf Camp runs throughout the Summer holidays with Pete and the team from Aloha Surf School.
2 fun packed hours each day open to all kids from ages 8-16 years.
We provide all equipment, wetsuits, wetsuit boots and soft surfboards, so all they need to bring is their swimming gear, a towel and some warm clothes for afterwards. 1 day €30, 5 days €100

Bushcraft Canoe and Camp with Into The Wild

wild camping irelandGet back to basics with Frank and the team with our: “Into the wild” survival and canoeing trips.
We SHOW you how to survive in the wild in an enjoyable atmosphere that is what “Into the wild” is about!!
Price for 2 full days / 48 hours €115 per person
Into The Wild also Do Teen Tribal Treks Contact Us for details

Family Friendly Mushroom Hunt – Galway 4 Oct

slippery-jacksLearn all about wild mushrooms in the beautiful woods of Kylebrack.
During this one day workshop, qualified experts will show you where mushrooms grow, why they grow there and how to distinguish the edible from the inedible.
The Great Mushroom Forage with Robert & Mary White

  • Saturday 4th October 2014
  • 11am – 4:30pm
  • Adults: €65pp
  • €15 per child over 12 years

Why not make a weekend of it and book into one of our Eco Bedrooms or Eco Cabins…

Seaweed Safaris – Clare, Avail Daily

seaweed foraging irelandDuring the safari you will learn about the many seaweeds the Atlantic Coastline has to offer.
You will be shown how to identify and harvest the seaweeds by hand like our ancestors would have done. You will learn about the Nutritional Benefits of the edible seaweeds along the with the Cosmetic and Horticultural benefits.
You will also be treated to Sea Veg tasting at the Wild Irish Sea Veg Company!
€15 per adult – €5 Children
Group of 10 or more is €10pp and kids free.

Bundoran Surf Co

learn to surfSurfing is a great sport to be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. It is a great way to pick up a new sport or even just an excuse to get into the great outdoors.
Beginner lessons take place in waist deep water so don’t worry if you aren’t confident in the water. Our Surf School is approved by the Irish Surfing Association, all lessons are fully insured and all instructors are qualified beach lifeguards.

For more activities and events check out our Blog 

Learn all about Foraging and Wild Foods

Blackstairs Eco Trails are holding a Wild Food Summer School in August Friday 8th, Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th.

The Barn, Old Rectory, Killedmond, Borris, Co. Carlow

View – The Old Recory, Killedmond on Map Here >>

When: August 8,9 & 10th

How Much:

  • Friday 8th €70
  • Saturday 9th €90
  • Sunday 10th €70
  • Booking in for all three days Friday 8th, Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th €210.


Friday August 8th

10.30 AM   Registration Tea & Coffee

11.15           Welcome and overview of Wild Food Summer School

                    Talk on Foraging, ethics and sustainability

11.45           Foraging locally

1.15             Lunch   – all organic produce

2.15            Cook Up of Wild Foraged Food

4     PM         Tea & Coffee

4.30 PM     The Big Debate with Georgina Campbell – John Gibbons-Philip McCabe-   Mary Mulvey  –  Chair Manchán Magan


6   PM        End of Debate .

8.30            Live Music in the  Barn at the Old Rectory


10.30 AM       Registration  Tea & Coffee

11       AM      Talk with Paddy Woodworth Author & Journalist

12      PM       Question and Answer session

12.45            Lunch    All Organic produce.

1.45    PM    Talk with Biddy White Lennon Author & Forager

2.45   PM     Questions and Answers

3.30   PM     Tea & Coffee

4       PM      Foraging on the River Barrow.

6        PM      Free

9        PM      Live Music and Chat in O’Sheas pub, Borris


11     AM        Registration Tea & Coffee

11.30 AM      Short Film on Foraging

12      PM      Foraging in the foothills of the Blackstairs

2       PM       Tapas Style Lunch cooked up by Celebrity Chef Rosanne Stevens

4        PM     Tea & Coffee Closing remarks and end of Wild Food Summer School

Further  changes and additions will be added in the coming weeks.

Great Accommodation for our Visitors in the Local Area

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.