A throwback to Irish penal times as Clare’s first Hedge School in more than 150 years is established

Loophead local artist and author Carmel T. Madigan (pictured) will educate her students on the natural world of the Clare peninsula.

A Loop Head Tourism have launched an initiative named "Summer on the Loop” which will feature a range of activities and events across the Loop Head Peninsula in County Clare, recently named ‘Best Place to Holiday in Ireland’ by the Irish Times.

One of the most unique events on the “Summer on the Loop” program is the return of a working Hedge School, the first in two centuries. Hedge Schools were once common in every parish in Ireland between the 17th and early 19th centuries where they took place in secret outdoor locations during the time of the Penal Laws when Catholics were forbidden from teaching and no building could serve as a school.

The Loop Head Summer Hedge School will combine an exploration of the unusual flora of the Loop Head peninsula with poetry, art and creativity workshops, and wild food foraging.

Carmel T. Madigan - professional artist, naturalist and author of ‘The Wild flowers of Loophead’ - will host the Loophead Summer Hedge School project and teach her students the

the difference between the flora of Loop Head and those of the Burren, or taste fresh leaf and berry tea combinations foraged directly from the peninsula’s wild hedgerows.

The school begins with a guided rocky shore exploration at Ross beach, on the northern shore of Loop Head, near Kilbaha which will be followed by a variety of outdoor leisure and learning events, as well as indoor workshops and slideshows. Expect shoreline poetry readings, tea, philosophy and art sessions, rocky shore explorations and guided botanical walks, writes Loophead.ie.

The first annual Loop Head Summer Hedge School will run from 10 July to 18 August 2013.