Irish adventures don’t have to involve surfing slabs or abseiling down sea stacks. There’s wonder in the Wild Atlantic Way’s little things too, as I discovered on a shoreline walk with John Fitzgerald of Atlantic Irish Seaweed. Seaweed is “the most on-trend food thing we’ve seen in years,” John said, giving me a hands-on introduction to everything from bubbly bladderwrack to “the truffle of the sea” (that’ll be the peppery-pungent dulse, or dillisk). The workshops wind up with a tasting lunch. Seaweed champagne, anyone? — PÓC
My final stop is near Caherdaniel. Here I join John and Kerryann Fitzgerald, the husband-and-wife team behind Atlantic Irish Seaweed for a shoreline-foraging adventure.
We kick off with a cornucopia of tasting plates (think kelp spiced beef, or chai with bladderwrack and masala spices), before heading out to scour the shoreline for slimy goodies. Seaweeds were eaten by monks on the Skelligs, John tells me. “There’s so much good stuff in them, they make kale and blueberries look like kebabs and chips.”
As I’m leaving, he pops a few gifts into my boot — a jar of dried pepper dulse (a strong smelling ‘truffle of the sea’), a bath pack of dried wrack, and a bottle of elderflower champagne with sugar kelp. Perfect.
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“Raw shore-dining on the Ring of Kerry coastline. The peninsula spreads out into the Atlantic, with the dark, pointed hills of islands and neighbouring land brooding beneath a wide silver sky, across the water, giving heart-hitting views. You could just devour the place – and, it turns out, you can.”
‘It falls to John Fitzgerald, founder of Atlantic Irish Seaweed and self-professed “ageing punk” to medicine our self-indulgence from a beautiful beach in Caherdaniel.
John and his infectious zeal take us through the wild bounty on our doorstep, singing the benefits to both palette and body of duileasc, sea lettuce and carrageen moss while cutting off fronds to taste.
“This stuff makes gogiberries and kale look like chips and kebab,” he trumpets before sitting us down to a 12-course gourmet.”‘
So Myself, Ethel and the 2 dogs were banished from the house to down the lane yesterday (as we are such noisy pests) whilst John gave a radio interview on the benefits of seaweed.
Listen to the podcast here 17min in.