Last week, myself and my fellow forager Emily headed for the wooded mountains of Wicklow to seek some freshly foraged wild goods. Although both of us enjoy foraging and have a reasonable knowledge of the wild plant species around us, neither of us pretended to be a mushroom expert.
We started in the stunning little town of Rathdrum which is perched high on a hill in the middle of the Wicklow countryside. For a small village, it has a bustling atmosphere and some pretty cafes to stop in for a well needed morning cuppa before we got going. We walked the jubilee loop, taking some detours along the way when our senses guided us deeper into the woodlands.
On this quiet trail you pass through a meadow of ferns and dandelions that greet you as the first foraging stop along the way. We carefully plucked a few dandelion heads and red clovers before heading deeper into the Irish jungle. Before entering the crowded forest we found that there were several Elderflower trees leading us towards the woods. Yes, we had a picking good time. It would be rude not too.
The weather was good to us as the sun was out but the previous three days had been damp and rainy. I just knew that we would stumble upon some fungi. Once we found out first patch of field mushrooms we saw them jotting up from the wet earth everywhere we looked. We were after the much prized chanterelles but it was much too early in the year.
However we did manage to get up close and personal with many different varieties of mushrooms. Luckily we had our guidebook with us so we could check up on the species as we came across them. It is a well known rule of foraging that you should never pick what you cannot identify. Here are some of the shrooms we encountered along the way:
Mushrooms included: the Butter Waxcap/Hygrocybe ceracea, the Star Pinkgill/Entoloma conferendum, the False Chanterelle and the Phallus Impudicus.
Towards the end of our trip we looked up and found a tree bursting with heads of honeysuckle. The smell is sweet and delicious. This would later be boiled into a syrup.
Although our trip was a fun adventure we are looking forward to our next trip when we have studied the mushroom varieties and maybe bring a mushroom foraging guide to help us along the way.
Join us for a wild food adventure in Ireland: