Those of you who know me know I am a great lover of nature and incorporating that into a bit of an adventurous day out is what I love!
Having been out on one of these seaweed foraging experiences I can heartily recommend this as a unique and fun adventurous day out!
We have been inspired by the Ireland’s Ancient East concept to think about the earliest, ancient settlers of this island, and what foods they lived on.We have researched the plant and animal species living here at the time, about 8,000 years ago and created a range of dishes based on what was available to those Mesolithic people. With some concessions to modern tastes, we hope to share that on the new moon in July. We will start foraging on the shore for seaweeds and continue through the Anne Valley gathering wild plants. Come with a spirit of adventure and take a walk on the wild side!
Interested in an experience like this? Contact Roz Today>>
Seaweed Foraging on Kilfarrasy Beach, Waterford
Saturday dawned bright and clear as we awoke early to ensure we made it on time to Fenor, Co Waterford where we would be spending the day on a Seaweed Safari!
As I live just 7km from a number of beaches I was very keen to learn how to identify edible seaweed and so my partner and I set off at 9.30am from Gorey arriving at the scenic village of Fenor just outside Tramore on the Copper Coast at 11.45am.
As the meeting time was 12 noon we decided to take a short stroll around the area first.
Upon rounding the corner we discovered that we were at Fenor Bog! Fenor means “sunny side of the hill” and indeed this is a lovely bright and well laid out walk perfect as part of a family day out on the Copper Coast.
We had bumped into a few other people, some on their own, some couples and some bff’s who were also here for the event – (I recognise people meeting for Eco Events by now), and then our guide Marie arrived, warmly introducing herself and her hubbie.
We set off, car pooling where possible, to Kilfarrasy beach just a few minutes down the road where we reconvened to hear Marie explain the importance of first checking the health of the water in any area that one might be considering Seaweed Foraging in.
As Marie led us to the seaweed covered rocks and pools she explained a bit about the history of the area and the beach having spent many happy days in her youth here.
We were first introduced to Sleabhcàn Seaweed, the Atlantic version of Nori, used for making laver bread and rather tasty raw. Marie explained the importance of sustainable harvesting then proceeded to show us how to select a section for cutting and demonstrating same.
Next was Gut Seaweed – not as nasty as it sounds lol- but yes, named because apparently it makes one think of guts! Bright green in colour and great in salads, raw or stir fries.
Wrack Seaweed followed- ideal for and often used in Seaweed Baths – two fistfuls of this natural beauty ingredient is enough for an average bath – particularly at this time of year as it is rather gelatinous.
One of the more well known, Dilisk aka Dulce was met with oohs of recognition, a red seaweed that makes a tasty salty snack when washed, dried. Kevin piped up that it was particularly nice with a pint of Guinness and some hummus… Our thoughts turned to the tasting we had been promised later 🙂
Incidentally Dulce has apparently 4 times the amount of iron that steak has – with none of the fat! Ideal for use in omelettes, stir fries, risottos and in making bread – nice!
Sea Lettuce is a bright green wide leafed Seaweed found in rock pools and can be eaten raw- as we tasted it we agreed that this was one of our favourites so far.
A curly moss-like Seaweed sitting on the rocks was Carrageen Moss often used in mousses and desserts (and toothpastes due to it’s unique texture) – in fact the ingredient often found in many desserts ( E417 ) is actually Carrageen extract! As it has a 2 year lifecycle it is very important that it is managed sustainably (for eg only using 1/3 of any plant). As there is a copycat seaweed that is not as tasty ( great pipweed) identifying Carrageen correctly is rather important – unlike it’s impersonator (which can be eaten but not very nice) Carrageen Moss has soft tips with individual ‘horn’ type tips per strand.
My fav – Spaghetti Seaweed was next – WOW! Great texture and can be eaten raw BUT do wash it carefully in the seawater (as with all seaweed) then doublecheck it for tiny Blue-rayed limpets that tend to live here!
Marie was keeping an eye on the tide- we had begun our trip out as the tide was going out and soon it was time to head back in – (she also gave us a nice tip on how to identify the watermark of a full tide on beaches that might be new to you)
Before we headed back in Marie showed us some Sweet Kelp – described as Alligator looking. It is important to bear in mind that Kelp has a lot of iodine in it and, dependant on levels, can be too much for the body. This was another contender for Kevins’ ‘crisps of the year’ award incidentally!
There were a few more Seaweeds explained and tasted then we head back to the beach where Kevin had been busy setting up a tasting table for us eager beavers. On the way I ran into my old pal Brendan Mc Carthy of BMC Design.ie who designed my lovely logo! Small world eh? 😉
What a delight the tasting table was, we got to try Maries’ home baked Beetroot & Dilisk Bread (out of the oven that very morning!), Mushroom and Olive Caponata (more please!!), Salsa with Seaweed added and Marie gave us a few tips on creating our very own dried Seaweed flavourings. #NiceOne – We even had…. wait for it.. Chocolate mousse with seaweed – It was GORGEOUS! Healthy Chocolate – what’s not to like?!!
A fantastic few hours in wonderful company and learning so much as you go.
Think your group would enjoy a Seaweed Foraging Feast? Get in touch and we’ll do the rest!
The Irish Seaweed Safari is an experience not to be missed!
Join our 4th generation Seaweed Foragers and enjoy the spectacular shore walk from the rugged coastline of Caherush meandering along the shoreline enjoying nostalgic views looking out on Spanish Point Bay along with the spectacular Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands.
During 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!
They will give their expertise in how to prepare and cook the seaweeds you have encountered during the Seaweed Safari. You will be able to sample culinary delights using Dillisk, Carrageen, Sea Spaghetti, Sugar Kelp and Sea Salad among others.
You will than learn how to use seaweeds both in the Garden and how can it help for Cosmetic purposes.
The Tour lasts approx 3 hours – Walks will run in conjunction with the tide times. We will inform anyone who books the time for their chosen date.
What you need:
- Appropriate Clothing for weather conditions
- Walking Boots/Shoes
- Camera for some stunning photos!
- €15 per adult – €5 Children
- Group of 10 or more is €10pp and kids free.
If you are booking for more than 10 adults and also inc children then please do not select child numbers at booking point (to avoid getting charged) – instead please add if any children and numbers + ages of same in the NOTE box.
Any date is available.
Please note that a Minimum booking of 4 adults is required.
If you would like less than 4 places email us your preferred date and we will see if can make up the numbers to go ahead.
EAI Map Ref: Seaweed Safaris, Caherush, Co Clare >>