Marine Ecology & Foraging
Discover life at a micro and macro level. Accompanied by a Researcher from the National University of Ireland in Galway, you will examine the rocky shore of South Connemara. There you will gather edible (and very tasty!) food, which you then prepare and eat; periwinkles, limpets and different seaweeds, for example!
The shoreline around An Spidéal has been attracting the attention of archaeologists from all over the world. The reason for this is that storms last year caused the erosion of the seashore, and exposed the remains of a 7,000 year old forest. That was around the time the first settlers arrived in Ireland. Also the remains of what is believed to be cooking objects used by first settlers were found.
The people of Connemara have been using seaweeds for thousands of years as a food, fertilizer for their crops, as a source of iodine, and as a cure for various illnesses.
The population of many coastal areas, including South Connemara, grew rapidly in the 19th Century, particularly during the great famine of 1845 to 1849. This was because shellfish, seaweed and fish were being used as a staple food. The effects of this migration can still be seen today in the settlement patterns of South Connemara.
We organise shoreline walks around An Spidéal and help you to identify the many interesting features of archaeological, ecological, historical, geological, and marine interest. You will develop an appreciation for our environment and a 'sharp eye' to find items of interest.
Foraging is a dry activity, where you’ll be on the shoreline examining, identifying and collecting. Bring wellingtons, or hip boots / waders if you want to get deeper. We will examine and discuss interactions, dependencies and ecological issues from geology, tidal movements, animal / algae life cycles, and influences ranging from the moon to humans.
Exploring the shoreline, you will be shown how to identify and pick your food from the plentiful variety available. You will learn how to make salads from seaweed, what shellfish are edible, and how to cook them easily (which involves butter and wine with periwinkles, limpets, and razorfish!). You will also see samples of beauty products like hand cream made from seaweed.
We have scheduled events for individuals, and can organise special walks for groups on request.
Please contact us for further details.