Last Updated on January 9, 2024
If you’re like most, when thinking of Irish food, what comes to mind is beef and Guinness stew, bangers and mash, Irish seafood chowder, Shepherd’s Pie, Concannon and Irish Brown Bread. There’s a whole different side of culinary Ireland for those into foraging. Anyone who is can expect one wild foodie experience on the Emerald Isle.
The Burren in County Clare on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is part of the UNESCO Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark. Named from the Irish word ‘boireann,’ meaning ‘place of stone,’ it includes 72,000 acres of craggy limestone terrain forming a lunar-like landscape.
As well as being a top visitor attraction because of its unique landscape, The Burren is also a global leader in sustainable tourism thanks to the work of Burren EcoTourism, a network of providers offering eco-friendly attractions, activities, amenities, and accommodations.
One of these is The Wild Kitchen, part of the Burren Food Trail in County Clare. Created by wild food expert Oonagh O’Dwyer, The Wild Kitchen offers three different wild food experiences. The natural foods are local, seasonal, nutritious, free and beneficial to human health, and include everything from berries, fruits, nuts, roots and flowers to seeds and seaweed.
On the Seaweed Walk/Talk/Taste Experience, participants will learn how to harvest seaweed and discover the fifth taste, umami, a pleasant brothy or meaty taste that comes from compounds found in plants and meats. Along the foraging journey, be sure to watch out for local marine wildlife, including seals, seabirds and sea creatures.
The Hedgerow Walk/Experience takes foragers along the laneway of the Old West Clare Railway where you can enjoy beautiful scenery overlooking Liscannor Bay, hear about the history of the region, and learn how to identify, photograph and taste amazing wild plants. The experience ends with a wild food picnic in a wildflower meadow.
Wild Food Workshops focus on learning how to identify and use wild food in your cooking. You will learn how to preserve the harvest and get recipes that you can use at home.
Oonagh is passionate about helping people to reconnect with the source of our food.
“We have thousands of plants available to us locally and globally to eat but sadly we only eat a handful of them,” she says. “Wild food is a mystery to most people and I want to take away the mystery and give people the confidence to use wild food in their diet.”
The Wild Kitchen is just one of many food experiences to be enjoyed in the Burren. Guests can visit several artisan food producers behind the scenes and taste their amazing produce such as Linalla ice cream, St Tola goat cheese and the famous Burren Smokehouse smoked Irish organic salmon.