Have you ever picked a wild Chanterelle? Sniffed the earthy aromas of a Shaggy Ink Cap? Wondered at the taste of the Chicken of the Woods? Then there’s the Cep, the Oyster and the Hedgehog. What are these strangely named things? Wild mushrooms of course! If you go down to Killegar in Co.Leitrim in mid October, you’ll certainly be sure of a big surprise. On the 12th-13th of the month, The International Mushroom Festival celebrates the gatherings of the forest. Many ordinary folk are beginning to enjoy foraging for free food, seeing the benefit of learning a new skill and enjoying some fresh clean air.Mushroom hunting is fun for all the family. Young eyes often spot the pickings older eyes don’t see. It has been known for this writer to be beaten to the haul by the teenage daughter, when it comes to mushroom gathering! Killegar is set in ancient grounds. Some 300 species of wild mushrooms are thought to exist there. Some of them are rare finds – not previously recorded in Ireland. You may be lucky enough to unearth some of them during the festival. Afterwards, all rosy cheeked and invigorated, enjoy a feast of the gatherings, cooked by a celebrity chef. Oh the intensity of the taste – like no mushrooms you will have tasted before. The festival celebrates the diversity of real wild mushrooms, so different from the supermarket ones we are used to buying. Lots of other things to enjoy too. A craft fair and educational programme for the kids.Follow the link above to find out more on our festival listings, with links to the International Mushroom Festival official website You will come back fresh from the experience – and with perhaps a little more knowledge and confidence to conduct your own wild mushroom hunt in the future.