AS SEEN ON THE LATE LATE SHOW!

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Bláth na Mara is a family business hand harvesting seaweed on the Aran Islands. Jenny O’Halloran’s Dad, Máirtín, started the business in 2002 and in 2015 she and her kiwi husband returned from New Zealand to join him on Inis Mór. Seaweed has always been part of the island heritage, as an indigenous food, to aid the growth of crops on its rocky terrain. It has also been a source of economic survival for the islands over the centuries.

 

Sustainable harvesting methods and respecting the environment are at the core of Bláth na Mara’s values. How do you continue to meet this challenge?

We hand-harvest all of our seaweed, this keeps the volume at a limit while ensuring a high quality product. All areas we harvest from are mapped and monitored to ensure we rotate sites and keep harvest records. This ensures a low impact on the ecosystems where the seaweed grows. We work closely with IOA to ensure an organic quality product.

How important is it to pass on your skills and culture of making to the next generation or ensure a sense of continuity?

When you live in vulnerable communities such as offshore islands, the generation of sustainable businesses that harbour skills and generate employment is crucial to its survival.  Seaweed harvesting is a big part of the tradition and culture of the island people. My Dad has passed his skills and knowledge on to us and we consider ourselves very privileged to be keepers of our traditions.

You are situation on the beautiful island of Inis Mór, how is your work influenced by your surroundings?

It couldn’t not be influenced! The age old saying ‘time and tide wait for no man’ has never been so relevant to our lives! We work with the tides and the seasons, to watch the beauty of nature as it goes through the seasons, wild Atlantic storm winters to the awakening of Spring and long summer evenings, you are just in awe!

We recently introduced our line of retail products, where the colour schemes were taken from the prominent colours of our island and the ‘horizon’ line appears across our labels,. The view of the horizon is a constant in our day and we love that it is reflected in our brand. 

What are you currently working on/plans for the future?

Retail is a new space for us and we’re working hard to grow this, we’re releasing our new online shop later this Summer as well as growing our distribution domestic and international.

We are also excited to launch our Tourism Experience at our premises on Inis Mór, something we hoped to focus on this summer but with the world in lockdown, 2021 will be the year for it.

 

Blath na Mara features in our Box of Smiles – Keep Galway Smiling gift box, take a look here

www.blathnamara.ie