As with most things in Ireland it all started in the local pub. I was having a discussion with a friend of mine about game shooting, well to be honest it wasn’t much of a discussion I spent the time voicing my dissent for his part in the mindless killing of animals. I regularly fished, and in this I felt that I only killed the fish I wanted to eat, everything else went back in the sea or the river from which it came to swim another day. My friend on the other hand was not in the same position, he could not put back in the air the birds he shot to fly another day.
Anyway, after a few more pints and points for and against game shooting, my friend could take no more and invited me out the very next day to “have a go and see for yourself”.
The next day armed with a shotgun and my finest pair of wellies, myself and my friend rambled along a river bank in the wilds of Co. Wicklow in search of our quarry, ducks, mallard to be precise or possibly a teal I was told. I didn’t know there were different types of duck, how ignorant I was.
Get down I was told, a duck had just landed on the river further down stream and we would have to approach quietly. A few hundred yards of crouched walking that felt like miles and then I was told to stand up and walk towards the river using a bush to cover my approach. As I came to the edge of the river a duck rose up and made for the sky,BOOM! Without having to think I had raised the gun to my shoulder, pointed it in the direction of the duck and fired. I didn’t know whether I had shot the duck or not until my friend came back to me with a limp but warm bird in his hand, I had broken my duck.
My friend congratulated me but I felt a little sad, I had taken a life. I wasn’t proud of myself yet at the same time, I was thoroughly captivated by what had just happened, I had shot a duck. What next? I was told we would pluck it back at home and cook it up for dinner, and that we did. It was a conflicting experience, the stomach churning task of removing the birds innards compared with the finger licking goodness of eating the cooked duck. Conclusion, I was hooked, I wanted more.
I have so much to thank that friend for for without him I would probably not be on my current journey. The experience of shooting that duck changed my life, that one event gave me such an appreciation for food.
Now 12 years later, happily married with two beautiful daughters, I want my children to grow up with the knowledge of where their food comes from, how it has lived or been grown and how it has ended up on their plate. I want my family to have a healthy relationship with food, I want my children to enjoy food and have fun with it and for some strange reason I want to share this experience with you through this blog.
I hope you enjoy our families journey from Field to Fork.