August 22, 2014

Foraging for Lunch on Girley Bog with Meath Eco Tours

Foraging is something I don't know a lot about. Yes I can identify blackberries, elderflowers and wild garlic but that is about it. I'm lucky enough to have the first two in my garden so I'm not even sure you can call that foraging!! So when Kate from Meath Eco Tours invited me along to Girley Bog for a morning of foraging as part of Boyne Valley Food Series I jumped at the chance to learn more.

Girley Bog is located just outside Kells and offers a 3.5 mile eco walk. It is a 
mixture of forest and bogland and the bog itself is a raised one which is a rare enough habitat. Now the day we went it was lashing down and I mean absolutely bucketing out of the heavens! The weather didn't seem to deter the 15 or so people who turned up for it including one very enthusastic kid who wanted to be a entomologist (I think that's right!) - that's the study of bugs to you and me!  Everyone was kited out in rain jackets and wellies and so off we went to spend a Sunday morning foraging in the rain. Now I know the whole idea of this rain and bog thing probably doesn't sound at all pleasant but it was fantastic morning. For starters it certainly blows those cobwebs away!

A plant that tasted liked peas

Kate was a very knowledgeable and friendly guide who knows her way around the bog and where it hides all its treasures. Kate introduced us to all manner of flora and fauna and one thing that really stuck with me was the bilberries as I had never had them before. She also showed us a small patch where wild cranberries grew but you wouldn't be making any sauce soon out of them! 

Bilberry muffins
The prize for battling our way through the wind and rain was a wonderful picnic made from mainly foraged food.There was elderflower cordial, bilberry muffins, tomato, wild majoram and bean dip and that was just for starters! We were also treated to chicory and acorn coffee which was a delicious and very warming treat on that cold day. 

The foraging morning really helped me to see the wild abundance of food that is on offer in our countryside and has really inspired me to make the most of living in the Meath countryside. I am currently on the lookout for sloes to make myself some sloe gin! I think a really good piece of advice to finish up on was when a lady asked Kate how much we should pick. The rule is a third for you, a third for the bush and a third for the birds and bees!


If you would like to go on a tour yourself check out Meath Eco tours or have a look at the events for Heritage Week in Meath which kick off tomorrow because Kate is doing a few different events for it. Happy foraging!

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