• Lough Dan
  • Ireland

Reconnecting to our Ancestry through Nature: Herbalism, Oaks, and Acorns in Ireland with John Slattery

Healing with Plants: Developing Relationship with Plants & Place

Ogham: Ancient Language of the Trees

Acorns: Gathering, Eating, Ancient Lore


with herbalist & forager, John Slattery

Avondale & Lough Dan area

County Wicklow, Ireland

September 28-30, 2018


Workshop fee for entire weekend - $275   

**Workshop CANCELLED**


Glendalough, county Wicklow, Ireland

Glendalough, county Wicklow, Ireland

Are you excited to learn more about the healing and edible plants in your area?

Do you feel called to reconnect to your ancestry, and the wisdom that lies therein?

Looking to feel restored through time spent in Nature? or develop a deeper connection to the natural world around you?

Seeking a truly unique and immersive experience in nature on the Emerald Isle this autumn? 

In this workshop led by herbalist and forager, John Slattery, we will explore the fundamental aspects of bioregional herbalism: developing relationship with place and the plants within it. This endeavor leads us to the study of field botany, respectful wildcrafting and stewardship of the land, plant energetics, landscape observation, developing and exercising the senses (particularly the feeling sense), herbal medicine making, and applying these medicines for well-being and healing utilizing our knowledge of our homeland and plant energetics.


Becoming bioregional in our approach is something akin to how our ancestors lived, in how their relationship with the local landscape nourished them, healed them, and the natural world around them was seen as living and fluid. The native Irish language reflected this and was in intimate marriage with the land recounting through song and phrase the dance of the elements along the way-points of the year.   


Despite centuries of persecution and the attempted annihilation of this language, all is not lost. To listen to the land once again, to hear her song, is to rediscover the wisdom latent within the everliving spirit of mother earth... and that which resides within each of us. When we step out onto the land and engage our receptivity the land speaks to us, and our ancestors speak to us through the land, through the seasons, as well as the plants themselves.

...and that’s just what we’ll do. We’ll begin each day with very simple yet powerful exercises to begin to connect to the flow of life force (chi) all around and within us. Throughout Saturday we’ll be exploring the richness and diversity of habitats at Avondale while learning to re-develop our senses through engaging with Mother Nature. Through group exercises, John shares knowledge about the uses of plants we see, and how to develop deep relationship with the place we’re in and the plants within it. This form of experiential learning brings the learner in deep, intimate contact with the content which fosters a sense of everlasting learning. 


Learning about plants which naturally grow and thrive around you by developing relationship with the place in which you live is part of who we are, each and every one of us. It is time to reawaken to this and embrace it.


Deep connection through continued observation is the foundation for a bioregional herbalist. Knowledge is derived from experience, and wisdom through continued practice and observation of Nature (people, place, and plants). Learning about the plants found naturally occuring around us, in their natural habitat, begins to deepen our relationship to place. Little by little, patterns begin to emerge which inform us as to how we can use plants for medicine. 


If you are called to develop relationship with the plants around you for food and medicine, but unsure how to begin, then this workshop is just for you.

If you have a longing to follow the path of your ancestors, and reconnect with the power of Nature, then this workshop is also for you.


In addition to plant identification we’ll also explore different applications of plants based upon their energetics. What are plant energetics? This will be explored through tasting simple plant preparations (teas, tinctures) as a group and observing and discussing what we feel upon ingesting them. John’s skill in coalescing these group explorations into a tapestry of teachings enables each participant to gain the knowledge that’s available to them at that moment. 

The exercises in this workshop will introduce the participant to a method of learning which is empowering, distinctly individualized, unusually contextual, and highly experiential. 

Bringing together concepts which are deeply familiar, yet widely applicable serves to uplift the participant to a new level of growth and learning. 

Glendalough, county Wicklow, Ireland

Glendalough, county Wicklow, Ireland

Ogham: Ancient Language of the Trees

John will also be sharing from his experience of working with Ogham, the ancient language of the trees. We’ll explore the ancient Irish language of Ogham and how it may relate not only to the trees and plants in our midst, but also our ancestors, where we come from, how we learn from Nature, how her mystery is communicated to and through us, and applicable wisdom for every moment of our existence. When the language is interwoven with the expression of nature there is inherent wisdom in the sound and meaning. The teachings simply unfold before us.

...page from the 14th century Irish,  Book of Ballymote

...page from the 14th century Irish, Book of Ballymote

Based upon my explorations, it is my belief, that the ancient Irish, or people of Éire, lived by a foundational understanding of their intrinsic intimacy with Mother Nature herself. That this energy imbued the entirety of their lives, and was manifest in a divine goddess religion as well as the underpinnings of what later became known as Christianity. To access our connection to Mother Nature, once again, is to connect to this stream of knowledge and wisdom which once informed our ancestors' lives and is now calling us back.  

Sunday - Acorns: Gathering, Eating, Ancient Lore

at Lough Dan

In this information-packed, hands-on workshop John will take the participants through all the steps of processing acorns for food, and provide recipes for preparing your leached acorn meal. 

Quercus gambelii - Gambel's oak (American southwest)

Quercus gambelii - Gambel's oak (American southwest)

We’ll take a walk through an old oak grove, fully process acorns to prepare them for cooking, and enjoy a delicious acorn and foraged food meal to wrap up the day. All participants will get hands-on experience with processing acorns, and everyone will leave with the knowledge and experience to properly process all acorns for food. 

View from an Irish Oak (Quercus robur)

View from an Irish Oak (Quercus robur)


It is often debated whether Irish people once utilized acorns for food as was done elsewhere across the northern hemisphere from New York to Tokyo to Lebanon to Los Angeles. As the verdant terrain of Ireland’s ancient agriculture allowed for abundant food supplies to sustain her people, it is interesting to ponder what the diet was like when the majority of the island was covered in great oak trees, hazel, pine, and yew...


The virtues, history, and ethnobotany of oaks and acorns is vast and diverse. Walking through the portal, the doorway (from old Irish, “duir”, oak), of the ancient wisdom keepers, we'll begin our workshop with some time amongst the oak trees as John guides us on a walk through the history of oaks in the ancient world highlighting why oaks were so important and highly revered by our ancestors of the northern hemisphere and why we may have so greatly diverged from this once staple food source.  


We’ll process dry acorns and turn them into a ready to use flour using basic tools and techniques. There are so many ways to utilize acorn flour in your everyday home cooking, and John will provide a variety of suggestions for you to take home as we’ll also prepare a group feast to wrap up and celebrate our time together. 


There is no equipment or prior experience necessary to participate in this class. Just bring an open mind and willingness to learn. Each participant will receive handouts detailing the acorn processing procedures we'll cover in class.

Feel free to bring dried acorns to class for processing if you have them.

Single day registration for Saturday and Sunday is also available.

A list of what to bring and local accommodations will be sent upon registration.


*You can also register for an additional workshop the following weekend (Oct. 6-7) for a deepened exploration into the world of healing with plants. 


John Slattery, Bioregional Herbalist

Tucson, AZ

© 2018