Ireland certainly offers mushroom gatherers a wonderful array of fungi, both edible and non-edible ! For those only interested in the edible varieties Ireland will not disappoint, mainly due to the fact that it does experience quite a lot of rainfall and it also has large areas of undisturbed woodland, as well as some areas which are grassy, but largely left alone.
So it really is a great place to explore and to find some terrific mushrooms just as nature intended.
The type of mushrooms available may be pretty similar to those found on the mainland of Britain, but you may find that they are more prolific here. What is more, you may also get to meet some great locals when you are out and about on a mushroom foray! What more could you wish for?
There are many different species which are available here. You may be told that it is possible to find morels, but they are actually quite rare and you will indeed be fortunate to come across one or more of these.
However, you will find the common field or meadow mushroom in abundance. This is the mushroom that looks like the standard mushroom you would buy in the supermarket.
The horse mushroom is also quite common and it is yellow in hue, but when it is cut it will not stain yellow. If it does then it is the dreaded ‘yellow stainer’ and should be avoided at all costs. The horse mushroom is only yellow on the outside and this is a good way of telling it from the stainer.
Bay boletes are also pretty frequent in season. This is a brown mushroom, which looks a little like the cep. However, the cep has a stalk which thickens towards the ground. The bay bolete tends to have a darker helmet and then a stalk which only thickens slightly towards the ground.
You may also be lucky enough to find some ceps, or even some chanterelles. The StGeorge’s mushroom is also quite common, although this is a ‘spring’ mushroom and you will not find it during the main season.
Hedgehog mushrooms can also be found throughout Ireland, as well as the shaggy ink cap.
So, a great deal of mushrooms are available, but where can you find them? Well there are organised mushroom forays and hunts (a prerequisite for the beginner) but if you are confident that you can tell your edible from inedible, then woodlands and forest areas are a good place to start. Some of the field mushrooms can be found on sand dunes, usually between August and September, particularly if August is warm and a little humid. Otherwise, field mushrooms are quite prolific in undisturbed grassland, particularly any which have had sheep or even horses grazing on them. However, if you are venturing onto grassland, please make sure that you have the owners permission, otherwise, people may think that you are trespassing.
Sites where more exotic and different mushrooms are available may be kept secret by locals, who do not wish their precious sites to be overrun with mushroom pickers, but if you are discreet and also very diplomatic, then someone may take pity on you! Happy hunting!