Marie Power has been running seaweed workshops and events on wildlife for several years on a voluntary basis. Her professional background is in management and training consultancy. She decided to follow her interest in nature and now runs workshops on a regular basis.
Her introduction to seaweed as a food took place when she was very young. Her cousin, Jackie Power gathered carrageen around Stradbally Cove and it was cooked by his sister, Eily, into a very healthy dessert. The strong taste did not appeal and it was much later when she discovered how to make tasty as well as nutritious food using seaweed. In 2007, she attended a Copper Coast Geopark workshop in Annestown with seaweed expert, Prannie Rhatigan. There she learnt how to use a variety of seaweeds, in a whole range of dishes. Inspired, she began to forage for seaweed on the local beaches in Co.Waterford and experimenting with cooking them. She suggested the inclusion of some seaweed food tasting in a forthcoming Irish Wildlife Trust outing on rock pool ecology. And so the first seaweed workshop took place in March 2007 at Kilfarassey strand, Co.Waterford. The turnout was huge and it was clear there was an interest in seaweed foraging, cooking and in the natural world. Further workshops followed , run with an IWT colleague and a local field ecologist and this led to a regular appearance at the Dungarvan Food Festival at Clonea Strand Hotel every year since.
Meeting the people who attended the workshops (in Clonea, Ardmore, Tramore, Cheekpoint) became an enjoyable and inspiring experience. People expressed surprise – that seaweed could be so tasty; interest – in learning more about using it; requests for more in-depth workshops and demonstrations and for the recipes. The short 2-page handout was going to have to expand and the idea of writing it all down in a book, and thus “The Sea Garden” was born.
Marie decided in 2012 to blend her skills from the world of management and education with her interest in ecology and foraging. She undertook the UCC Diploma in Field Ecology and completed the publication of the book. She looks forward to more time on the shore in 2013, and continuing this stimulating and enjoyable journey with seaweed.
We would like to acknowledge the support of these agencies & companies:
Waterford Chamber Skillsnet
Waterford LEO - County & City
BIM - South East & Seafood Research Centre, Clonakilty