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10 WAYS TO GET CREATIVE WAY OUT WEST



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Amidst the remote surrounds of the Wild Atlantic Way, there’s a tranquility and quietness of mind that makes it the perfect place to tap into your creativity.

Here are just some experiences to spark the imagination.

 
 

Despite best intentions, making time to create is a challenge for many. Travel often provides inspiration, but what to do with the extra energy when you're out on the road? Combining an inspirational trip with a chance to get creative is the perfect antidote. 

Along the 2,500km Wild Atlantic Way, there are countless opportunities to discover local talent and to learn regional crafts that are unique to the west coast of Ireland. Need some inspiration? We've collected some experiences across food, craft, music and dance to help get you started.
 

1. Learn Irish language and handicrafts at Glencolumbcille Folk Village, Donegal

In southwest Donegal, spend a half-day in a two-stage workshop that takes in language and crafts native to an area famed for its unique dialect and rich heritage of traditional handiwork. Pick up a cúpla focal (a couple of Irish words) at Oideas Gael Language School before taking the short walk to the folk village. Within a small cluster of six traditional thatch cottages, perched on a hillside overlooking Glenbay beach, you'll see demonstrations of hand-spinning, knitting and weaving before trying them for yourself.

Contact Margaret at Glencolumbcille Folk Village to book your place.
 

2. Try your hand at new and old techniques at Lúnasa Handmade Crafts, Mayo

Whether you want to try your hand at traditional crafts or dabble in more contemporary techniques, Lúnasa Handmade Crafts in the Bellmullet Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area) can accommodate you. Choose from traditional handmade pursuits like knitting, embroidery or spinning or go modern with glass painting, découpage, fabric painting or pot painting. Whatever your choice and skill level, host Rosaleen Bond is on hand to help. Afterwards, enjoy tea and cake while admiring displays from more than forty local craftspeople.  

 
  • Known for its health-boosting properties, seaweed has been foraged on this side of the Atlantic for centuries
 

3. Forage and prepare a seaweed dish with Irish Seaweed Kitchen, Sligo

Well known for its health-boosting properties, seaweed has been foraged on this side of the Atlantic for centuries. In this full day excursion, Dr Prannie Rhatigan will introduce you to the delights of seaweed, local rock pools, algae, anemones and carrageen (Irish moss). During a gentle walk, you'll learn to identify and sustainably harvest edible seaweed and bring your spoils to Mullaghmore where Prannie will show you how to use it in everyday recipes. Here you'll prepare a simple seaweed dish before enjoying a three-course dinner in the award-winning restaurant Eithna’s by the Sea.

Contact Prannie at Irish Seaweed Kitchen to find out more. 
 

4. Make a traditional Pampootie shoe with Shoeniversity, Cork

Pampooties – fun to say, fun to make. Pampooties are rawhide shoes historically made and worn on Galway's Aran Islands. Formed from a single piece of untanned hide and folded around the foot, they're held in place with a twine or leather strap. Now overlooking beautiful Bantry Bay, you can learn to make this traditional fisherman's shoe in a half-day, one-day or two-day workshop. You can even walk away in your own creation.

Get in touch with the Shoeniversity to find out more. 

 
 

5. Catch, cook and eat in Dingle Cookery School, Kerry

Experience the ‘tide to table’ ethos firsthand with an experience at Dingle Cookery School. Lasting over three hours, it combines theory with a very hands-on experience. You’ll start with a sea fishing trip before learning how to handle and prepare local fish, and afterwards, you'll discover the history of Irish food as locals share family recipes from the area. All this happens as your own soda bread rises in the oven. Working with local ingredients – fish and shellfish from the Atlantic, whiskey from the Dingle Distillery, plus lamb, eggs and cheeses from nearby – you can create a truly unique meal from the Atlantic and surrounding land.  
 

6. Learn to dance or play an Irish instrument at Siamsa Tíre, Kerry

Celebrating Irish culture for over forty years, Tralee's Siamsa Tíre is home to the National Folk Theatre of Ireland. Looking out over the Slieve Mish Mountains and the Dingle Peninsula, you and the family can participate in a morning class in Irish dance, Irish song, language or even a bodhrán lesson. Workshops and masterclasses run seasonally, so check out their website to see which ones coincide with your trip and book ahead. 
 

7. Forage for wild food with Wild Kitchen, Clare

In windswept County Clare, discover new tastes and recipes on a guided walk while foraging for wild food. Oonagh of Wild Kitchen grows her own salads and herbs, and using locally-sourced plants from land and sea makes seasonal dishes, dips and preserves. Sample some of her famous organic pestos, hummus, elderflower champagne or dillisk crisps, which are all made with local pickings. Over two hours, learn to identify various seaweeds and wild plants, get to grips with their nutritional value, and discover all the best ways to prepare and preserve them.  Both land and sea are covered in Oonagh’s passionate storytelling tour and you’ll not only leave with a bag of seaweed picked by your own hand, but also invaluable local knowledge
 

8. Get a feel for an Irish peat bog at Belderrig Valley, Mayo

Spend a full day in 6,000-year-old farms in the Belderrig Valley and the geologically significant Céide Fields, which hugs the coastline touching the Atlantic. Here you will learn about the lives of farmers on this land, as well as the Stone Age discoveries that have been preserved by a blanket of bog. Get your hands dirty with turf-cutting and bring your cut to the visitor centre to identify its botanical information. This is a truly humbling site that will leave you and the little ones inspired. Contact Declan at Belderrig Valley to reserve a spot. 

 
 

9. Decorate pottery at Moville Pottery, Donegal 

On the beautiful Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal, you’ll find Moville Pottery, specialists in fine hand-thrown stoneware pottery for almost forty years. The studio overlooks the historic town of Moville and here creative minds can choose from an extensive collection of pottery to decorate. For a little inspiration, explore the looped walk of Inishowen Head and take in the stunning scenery and vibrant wildlife before dipping your brush in paint.  
 

10. Create felt art with artist Christina Jasmin Roser, Cork

In a day-long immersion session, let award-winning felt maker Christina Jasmin Roser guide you in creating a felt piece using wool from local sheep. On the day, you'll learn about the wet-felting technique while experimenting with different colours, fibres and fabrics. Participants go home with their own creation, be that a decorative wall hanging, bag or cushion cover, created with the addition of a few stitches.


Meet the artists and music makers who live and work along Ireland’s most westerly coastline.

 

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Don't miss out, book your Wild Atlantic Way family experience now!


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