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 is 72,000 hectares of craggy limestone terrain forming a lunar-like landscape.
As well as being a top visitor attraction because of its unique landscape, it is also a global leader for sustainable tourism thanks to the work of Burren EcoTourism, a network of providers of eco-friendly attractions, activities, amenities and accommodation.
One of these is The Wild Kitchen, part of the Burren Food Trail. Created by Oonagh O’Dwyer, The Wild Kitchen offers three different wild food experiences. Wild food is local, seasonal, nutritious, free and beneficial to human health. It includes everything from berries, fruits, nuts, roots and flowers to seeds and seaweed.
On the Seaweed Walk/Talk/Taste Experience you will learn how to harvest seaweed and discover the fifth taste, umami. Along the way, as you forage, watch out for local marine wildlife, including seals, seabirds and sea creatures.
The Hedgerow Walk/Experience takes you 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.
The 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 to use at home.
Oonagh is passionate about helping people to reconnect with the source of our food. She says: “We have thousands of plants available to us locally and globally to eat but sadly we only eat a handful of them. 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. You can visit a number of artisan food producers to see behind the scenes and taste their produce such Linalla ice cream, St Tola goats cheese and the famous Burren Smokehouse smoked Irish organic salmon.