Burren Botanicals, Co. Clare
Why Visit Co. Clare?
Think of Co. Clare and most people think of the Cliffs Of Moher, the Burren with Paulnabrone Dolmen, Listoonvarna and its famous festival that many heard through the song sung by Christy Moore, and Doolin with its music for tourists sessions.
Some go to The Burren of Co. Clare for the flowers in Spring and to take photos of Father Ted’s house, but this is a minority compared to the above, yet is very popular with UK visitors.
Our mission with Celtic Ways is to provide a sharing into Ireland’s sacred spirit and living traditions to try and prevent their extinction as they are so healing and helpful to our daily lives today. We usually achieve this through sharing sites and locations and visiting people away from the familiar tourist boardwalk.
So far, we have not included The Burren of Co. Clare in our tours, but through 2008 this will become an important choice offered. It will be offered as part of our “Around Bhride’s Garden” and “Rekindling Lost Traditions” packages with a strong focus on the flora and botany of The Burren.
Where We Visit in Co. Clare
There is a comfortable circular tour that I thoroughly enjoy sharing.
It starts from the Ballyportry Castle and through Corrofin to Kilinaboy where we stop and visit the large Sheela na Gig there. We then take the narrow road beside Kilinaboy Church as start our Burren adventure.
There are some oohs and aahs as we approach the stunning surreal rock formation of Mullagh More sacred mountain that looks like a multi layer cake that a giant has jumped up and down on to ooze some of the cream and fruit filling out. The wonder of this mountain on the right can cause us to easily pass by Father Ted’s House on the left. Father Ted is a wonderful comedy series that is very popular through the UK and Ireland where it now has the cult status and festivals like the Star Trekkies have.
After a left turn and zig zaggary driving we are into a very sacred area of small cairns and standing stones which are brought alive from April until early June with the giant rock garden flora of the Burren.
Eventually we reach Burren Perfumery, which I will write of shortly.
After time at Burren Perfumery our return journey takes us through the village of Carran where we turn left and stop or pass by several cairns, dolmens and a sacred cave as we return to Kilinaboy and back to Ballyportry.
With our “Rekindling Lost Traditions” package we do have the extra time to visit the busy and popular Paulnabrone dolmen, Cliffs Of Moher and the beachside town of Lahinch. Nearby Enistymon also has a superb ambient vegetarian restaurant.
The Pharmacy Of The Burren
The most popular time for this region is from mid May until early June when the flora of The Burren is at its most spectacular. This is mainly visited then by Europeans who take short break 2, 3 or 4 day vacations, fly direct to Galway and either hire ourselves, hire a car or go with a bus trip to experience this marvel and wonder of nature. As you can imagine, the narrow road route I mentioned above becomes a bumper to bumper “super-flora” spectator line of traffic. For most of the rest of the year these roads are quiet.
Therefore, Burren Botanicals is a wonderful destination for the other 49 weeks of the year outside of the peak natural floral Burren rock garden display. Its a place we can arrive at for a welcome lunch and bathroom break too.
The Burren Perfumery was founded by Brian Mooney 35 years ago with the intention of making perfumery and herbal pharmacy products from the abundance of wild plants and florals on The Burren. Brian’s intent was to revive a tradition and industry of the druid and early Christian monks that brought them trade, exchange and income for their monastery and surrounding communities.
Soon after Brian founded his enterprise a preservation order was enforced to protect the flora of The Burren so he could no longer pick wild flower supplies.
The Burren Perfumery is now owned and run by Sadie Chowen. Her intent has been, and still continues, the ancient Burren botanical and perfumery traditions. Though she cannot harvest her raw materials from The Burren she grows what she can from her own gardens and purchases additional raw supplies from other select gardens. Though her raw materials are no longer 100% Burren origin she still creates wonderful products inspired by the landscape and environment that surrounds it, as well as follow the ancient based traditions. As you can expect, Sadie’s products are free of ingredients that are suspected of being harmful and are present in many of today's fragrant products.
Add to this, the fun and joy of being in the company of a jolly, very welcoming and caring Sadie.
Sadie Shares With Us ….
Her lovely herb garden provides a wonderful ambience and spirit of the tradition that was originated by local monks of ancient times. There are lovely quiet hidden places here for peace and meditation.
Her organic tea rooms are extremely welcoming for any visitor ready for a snack, a lunch and a beverage on arrival, plus the essential bathrooms.
Her visitor’s centre of photos and video presentations also adds to our understanding and presence here. You can also visit the herb and flower distillation rooms that are still on a cottage industry level rather than within a factory building.
In her shop, Sadie provides a wonderful demonstration of the different fragrances that are distilled here. These unique fragrances are the most natural you may have ever experienced. We found that they conjoured up our own distant past memories of granny’s garden, rolling in the hay, and summer country walks. I cannot imagine these fragrances stirring up the evils of anyone’s allergies. They all seem so gentle, so natural.
After a delightful sniffing session Sadie lets us loose in her shop to select and purchase the wares we wish to take away with us ranging from natural oil concentrates to herb pillows, bath oils, soaps, balms, deodorants, and cosmetic perfumes.
How To Experience Burren Botanicals
Sound Accord have a wonderful all Ireland tour, arranged by Celtic Ways, called “Sounding Sacred Ireland” that includes the circular tour plus Burren Perfumery time on May 20th 2008. peak of the flora season. Hope and Gabrielle, who are leading this tour, have a wonderful understanding of the alchemy of sound into light for protection, joy and healing. Sound and flora do have a close connection. Its worth checking this option out as there are still some seats and rooms available.
Our Rekindling Lost Traditions package is a great way to enjoy quality time and guidance here, including a few days residency at nearby Ballyportry Castle. This package is now available from now until May 14th 2008 and again after mid August and right through until spring 2009.
See what flowers bloom in spring.
An overall movie introduction