Using the Irish-Grown Hemp Plant
The History of Irish Hemp
One of the oldest hemp artefacts, located in the Dublin City archives is a piece of cord that is around 850 years old. Essentially the story of hemp in Ireland is linked to agriculture, migration, global trade, war, politics, economics, social policy and much more.
Many travellers to Ireland over the past 1000 years reference hemp growing here. An early example is the ‘Topographia Hibernica’ also known as the ‘Topographia Hiberniae’. This is an account of the landscape and people of Ireland published by Gerald of Wales in around 1188. In this work Gerald mentions hemp cultivation in Limerick.
Hemp in Ireland Today
In the heart of rural County Louth, as you would expect, fields of lush green crops are seen over the hills and for miles across the land. However, these are not the usual crop that you might see here, these are luscious hemp crops.
These crops are grown from seed by Celtic Wind Crops, an Irish hemp company founded by, Paul McCourt, who is a keen historian.
The hemp plant, prized for its ability to provide food, shelter and clothing had largely disappeared from modern agriculture practice. Surrounded by the bleaching fields of nearby Bellurgen Park and its rich-flax growing tradition, Paul knew the Cooley Peninsula was the ideal growing soil for hemp. And so, in 2011 he set about growing this ancient grain in Ireland for the first time since the mid-1700's.
The Irish-Owned company was set up in 2012 to capitalise on the growing demand for ancient crops and grains – aiming to create a sustainable future for people and the planet with hemp.
Hemp is the strongest natural fibre in the world – a fact the industry can no longer overlook.
It’s why it was grown and cultivated for food, clothing and shelter for centuries.
How We Use Our Irish-Grown Hemp Plants
At Celtic Wind, we use the hemp plant to its full potential, using every element of the plant where possible. Here’s how we do it…
- The stalk
Growing 10ft or 12ft high, the stalk-like plants are cane-like and hollow – the perfect raw material for making fibres for clothing, rope, printing and packaging.
- Fibre and shive
They’re used in the construction industry and building materials industry as natural fibre insulation, as well as structure forming wood core products for the sustainable building industry.
- The bi-products
Although we don’t have the production facilities to refine the stalk and bi-products ourselves, we use third-party contractors in the UK who do it for us, so nothing is ever wasted.
- The seeds
We recently built a state-of-the-art production facility that manages our ‘seed to shelf’ products. It is here we make our unique range of food supplements and topicals, which use 100% Whole-hemp plant seed in every bottle.
This use of hemp helps Ireland to fit into the broader climate action plans by helping the environment. According to research, hemp can absorb radiation, heavy metals, other toxins, and carbon dioxide. Another important thing to consider; because hemp regenerates the soil, it allows for the immediate planting of food crops, making it very ‘farmer friendly’ – the perfect crop for the Emerald Isle.
Shop local and shop sustainable at Celtic Wind today!