Tara is an Irish herbalist originally from the south east of Ireland. She now lives with her family at their smallholding in the hills of East Co. Clare, where they tend their many plants and animals and hold regular workshops and retreats in plant medicine.
Her journey with medicine and plants began from a very young age. Growing up in a culture steeped in magic and folklore, she was always enchanted by the stories of the wee folk and nature spirits and has found refuge in the wild places. From a young age, she became aware of the separation that exists between many people and the natural world and believes this is the source of many physical and emotional illnesses. She is passionate about facilitating connection between people and the natural world to aid their healing.
She undertook her formal training in herbalism with Nikki Darrell at Coláiste Luibheanna. It was there she met her now close friend and fellow Wild Routes Ireland host, Chris. She is currently practising as a community herbalist from her home in the west of Ireland.
She has a lifetime interest in Celtic spirituality and folklore and believes fervently in sharing this deep well of knowledge with the wider world. She has spent many years journeying through the land of Ireland, connecting with the sacred sites, ancient stones and trees and the magical wild places. Tara feels a deep calling to bring others to experience these unique places.
Chris is originally from Ohio. He left the states 24 years ago and has made his home in Ireland for the last 20 years by way of Spain, Finland, Greece, and Hungary. He began his obsession with plants while living in a treehouse for 6 months in an ancient oak woodland in Co. Wicklow 20 years past. He went on to study organic horticulture and spent several years running a market garden business based out of a Victorian era walled garden adjoining Springfield Castle in Co. Limerick. His herbal studies began there while growing every kind of medicinal plant he could find seeds for.
In the past 10 years, he has undertaken formal herbalist training, first at the BSc Herbal Science programme in the Cork Institute of Technology, and then clinical training at the Irish School of Phytotherapy with Nikki Darrell. Chris has been practicing as a community herbalist for the past 5 years now. He is passionate about making all his own medicines and has developed some innovative processes incorporating some principles of Alchemy. Chris is also kept busy brewing, distilling, and concocting and has of late created many yummy, wild, herbal cocktail experiences, the latest of which featured at the Radical Herbalism Gathering in the Shrewsbury. Lastly, he’s been touring the island of Ireland relentlessly for 20 years in search of nature, beauty, and the mysteries of this unique land.
Lorna Mauney-Brodek, Special Guest Herbalist-Host, is a clinical herbalist and teacher with a focus on healthcare access. She offers a sliding scale herbal clinic in East Atlanta, leads the Harriet Tubman Free Foot Clinic, providing holistic foot care to our friends on the street, and is the founder and director of the Herbalista Health Network which offers care and education to underserved communities. Lorna teaches at various schools around the country and abroad, spreading the Herb Bus method and celebrating our capacity to build community through herbalism.
Lorna Mauney-Brodek is a traveling herbalist, medicine maker, wildcrafter and teacher. Much of her herbwork supports organizations dedicated to promoting diversity, environmental responsibility, and social justice. Growing up “americana,” her health practices reflect the abundantly diverse influence of these lands to blend western medical herbalism, traditional chinese five phase, Ayurveda, southern folks, and kitchen-craft. Early barefoot adventures in the Appalachian foothills and global wanderings with tent-packing parents led to more formal trainings in plant medicine. She completed an herbal residency with Michael Moore at the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine and her clinical internship at the Blue Ridge School for Herbal Studies. Lorna is the founder and director of the Herbalista Health Network. Lorna teaches at various venues around the southeast, including BotanoLogos, the Blue Ridge School, and Homestead Atlanta.
Wild Routes Ireland tours are a journey of discovery throughout Ireland, beyond the ordinary and are the creation of 2 persons, Chris and Tara’s, decades long searching and dreaming through the landscape and culture of this magical isle. What sets the tours apart from the crowd is our ability to facilitate intimate encounters with not only the many special places we will visit but also several fascinatingly unique individuals who will be your guides for much of the time along your journey. They are, in their own fields, recognised experts from several disciplines, including mycology, forestry ecology and management, herbalism, botany, wild food foraging, heritage seed saving, traditional story telling (Seanchaí), musicians, and more.
It is our goal to bring you to as many of our favourite spots as possible. While some are well known and frequently visited by tourists, others are rarely found by those who are not local to the areas. You won’t read about them in guide books and are unlikely to find any other tour that includes them. We call our tours ‘Wild Routes Ireland’ for a precise reason, because we select our destinations for either their outstanding natural beauty or their ecological, cultural, or mystical significance. With this purpose in mind, let us transport on an adventure to our favourite magical spots: enchanted forests, holy wells, sacred stones, ancient cairns, and fairy glens. You will be given plenty of opportunities to take a moment to yourself along the Wild Routes we travel, to take a breath and tune into the subtle energies of each place.
On a Wild Routes Tour you will walk in some of Irelands more ecologically important native woodlands, sit with one of its oldest trees, touch the ancient stones that have stood since before the time of the pyramids, get to know the local plants and dine on wild local foods, learn of the ancient customs and Brehon laws of Ireland and delight in stories about the little people or ‘daoine sidhe’ as they are locally known, among many other adventures and activities that we have planned for you.
Come with us as we travel Irelands Wild Routes, taking in the old places and the rugged unique beauty of the Irish landscape.
Many people around the world are feeling the call to visit the land of Ireland. It is known across the world for its history and culture of magic and enchanment, its fairy trees and megalithic monuments. It is the land of mystical tales, ancient gods and goddesses, legendry heroes and powerful initiations.
On a Wild Routes tour you will have the opportunity to connect deeply with the land of Ireland as well as with its people. Each day we visit places of stunning natural beauty as well as meet and learn from local guides, each expert in their individual fields. You will have the chance to explore the ancient ways of Ireland’s people and be enchanted by the ancient and magical stories while also meeting the native trees and plants and discovering sites that are older than the pyramids in Egypt.
What we feel makes us different from most other tours is how we connect deeply and intimately with the places we visit. You will be given plenty of opportunity to tune into the subtle energies of the wild spaces we visit, to feel into what you feel the land is communicating and to receive the great healing that is available in some of these powerful places. The effect of visiting many of these sites each day as we do is immensely powerful especially when we walk with intention and awareness.
The land of Ireland holds many ancient and powerful initiations and wisdoms which can effect great healing in those you visit it. Many people experience a sense of coming home in Ireland. It is known by many that the veil is thin here meaning that the spirit world is very close and easy to enter. The sacred trees and fairy hills come alive and dance with the magic of the otherworld. It is the return to these magical realms that perhaps is the return home many experience. Ireland has long been a place of spiritual pilgrimage, a place of deep healing and inspiration. When you travel to Ireland, you come to realise that magic is real. There is a magic that pervades the landscape, the trees and the people.
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