The Seaweed was harvested in Ireland for centuries before Arramara began operations in 1947. Arramara was established to develop an industry based on the large resource of seaweed available along the West Coast of Ireland. The seaweed used, Ascophyllum nodosum, is more commonly known in different geographic locations as either Rockweed, Knotted Wrack or Egg Wrack. In the vernacular Irish language of Connemara it is known as Feamainn Bhuí, meaning yellow seaweed.
Seaweed harvested from the clean coastline of the North Atlantic Ocean
is washed, milled, dried, and milled again before screening and bagging
into different products.
History of Seaweed
Drift material was mixed with sand in areas where there was an absence of soil or the soil was of poor quality. Many of the small pastures (buaile) on the Aran Islands were formed by the back-breaking work of centuries dragging seaweed and sand from the shores. (Newton 1951)
The Aran Island, in Galway Bay, give an extreme example of the use of seaweed as manure, the "soil" is made from a mixture of sand and seaweed, a wide range of crops and vegetables are grown and the standard of cultivation is extremely high. (E.Booth, The Manurial Value of Seaweed)
Seaweed is an old story; it has been used for centuries around the world. These days it's becoming more and more popular, as people are looking for alternative natural products. Seaweed is Mother Nature's homemade soil conditioner for all your gardening needs.
Ascophyllum nodosum grows in abundance along the west coast
of Ireland. The seaweed is harvested at low tide, when the shore is
most exposed. Ascophyllum attaches itself to rocks on the seashore,
and is hand harvested using a sharp knife or sickle.
Care is taken not to cut the entire plant, allowing 8 inches (approx.)
to remain attached to the rock. Harvesting is carried out in strict
rotation to allow the Ascophyllum nodosum plant to re-generate.
The harvester then collects the seaweed into bails or "cleimins," and
attaches ropes around each bail.
A load of seaweed may contain 5 to 6 bails of seaweed, with each bail
consisting of 2-3 tons. Each bail is towed into a collection point (slipway
or pier) where it is inspected by a resource team before a delivery
docket is issued to the harvester by the Resource Manager. The seaweed
is collected within 1-2 days, and delivered to the factory for weighing
and further inspection.