Ireland’s First Mushroom Festival.

In Foraging., Off the beaten track. on September 26, 2011 at 11:28 am

Weatherwise yesterday was a horrible day, however that did’nt put us off attending Ireland’s 1st Mushroom Festival at Killegar Estate, near Carrigallen, Co Leitrim. This event was,  part of the Save Killegar Campaign which the current owner Sue, Lady Kilbracken, organised as a way of raising awareness and hopefully some funds to save this beautiful old house. Completed in 1813, Killegar is in dire need of reburfishment. Sue and her son Sean live in just a couple of downstairs rooms. The rest of the house is not habitable.

A good crowd turned out for the event which was well organised. We went in groups with knowledgeable Mycologists through the grounds of the estate. We walked about 3 miles and found a range of fungi, edible and poisonous. Ireland has about 2,500 different Mushrooms. A fact I found amazing as we tend to concertrate our focus on 3 or 4 varieties. Can’t remember the name of the ones above but they were edible. However about 20% of the population have a severe allergic reaction to them so they are no longer on the edible list. Apparently they are popular in Italy.

 This bracket fungus on a Beech tree drew many people’s attention. It is unfortunately inedible and is a sign that the tree has started to die.

This person had an innovative way of carrying their bounty! Like it!

There were many other attractions too. This man was giving rides on his Donkey and cart. There were also food stalls, craft  demonstrations, art exhibition plus lectures and information stalls.

At the end of the day all the Mushrooms were identified by the experts and displayed. About 70 varieties were found. A great day out despite the weather!

If you wish to find out more info about Killegar or the Save Killegar Campaign go to . Sue, Lady Kilbracken describes Killegar as “a jewel in the heart of Leitrim”. You won’t find many disagreeing with her. Hopefully in the coming years Killegar will be restored to its former glory.

  1. Delighted to see this post about our Mushroom Festival. It was a fabulous success and we are planning on having another one mid October 2012. Check the website for details!

    We have been able to do quite a bit with the funds raised from last year. There will soon be photos of the progress on the website and also on the Facebook Group: Please join us and keep up to date with all things Killegar.

    Best wishes,

    Sue, Lady Kilbracken
    County Leitrim,

  2. I love mushroom festivals, and mushroom hunting with my camera. Other than Chanterelles, I never hunt for mushrooms as food. We have a fungus faire here each spring, and it’s always fun to see the species people have found growing locally. I was surprised to find a large mushroom here yesterday (it’s our dry season), growing at the edge of where a garden sprinkler was leaking. A Russula species I think, but it was delightful to see its red cap under a fern leaf while everything here seems so dry.

  3. Mushroom hunting is something I have never done… but would love to do! And of course I would want to come to Ireland to do so… land of my forefathers!

  4. I hope they are able to restore the castle as well. In my fantasy life I live in a castle LOL…. I’m one of those unfortunate souls who is allergic to mushrooms but my husband loves them. I’m glad you had a fun day learning about them and helping the castle at the same time!

  5. They have a fungus day at the local nature reserve over here. I’ve not managed to get there yet. It’s a good year for fungi with all the recent rain. I’ve been photographing them for a while but identifying them is much more difficult! Lovely post, especially the umbrella

  6. The umbrella tote was cool, have to remember that one.

  7. What a great day– I love wild mushrooms. I’m glad the house has hope of restoration. I have been working on my old house for thirty years, and it’s of a much smaller scale!

  8. Bridget,

    With the recent rain here mushrooms are everywhere. Yesterday there was a mushroom foray, but I could not make time to go. Sounds like you had a blast!! Did you get some good edibles?

    • Got some Ceps and Shaggy Ink Caps plus a few more I don’t know the names of. I am going to our local woods tomorrow to have a look. Feel confident about a few species now.

  9. Yes, I’ve gone to their website, and they have had some interesting events there. I hope there will be continued interest and support for Killegar. What an amazing history it has. An Irish treasure, most definitely.

  10. What a great idea for an annual event. Fun for the whole family, too and lovely grounds and beautiful looking house, which I’d love to see restored to its former glory. Great that there were also other things taking place, like the arts and crafts exhibitions and stall and food. Ireland needs more of these types of events all over the country, but moreso in the northwest. Thanks for sharing this with us, Bridget. I’d love to attend next year’s festival, if this is to be turned into an annual outing.

  11. After the day, would you be confident in picking wild mushrooms? We have so many here, I’d love an expert to tell me what they are.
    Jane x

    • I would be confident with Boletes or Ceps as they are commonly known, also Chanterelles which have a distinct apricot smell. The best advice with Mushrooms is “if you’re not sure leave it”.

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