ireland Guided by Sadie Chowen, Burren Perfumery

How does Ireland inspire you?

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Surrounded by the wildness of the Atlantic Ocean, this lushly scenic and dewy island is best known for its raw beauty and its warm people. The rugged landscape of the West is particularly stunning and pristine, offering dramatic sea-facing cliffs and green hills. The heady perfume of burning peat scents the air, and life slows down for a “cuppa”.

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The Celtic Tiger's had cubs and Ireland is going gangbusters. While the delicious tradition of a music session in Doolin remains, and the wind still roars across the craggy, heart-stirring landscape, there's a new breeze blowing. Ireland is equally the land of spa retreats, innovative cuisine and spirited, modern cities.  Gentle mountains, rugged ridges, wild moorlands, spectacular sea cliffs, remote islands, warm hospitality and the infamous Irish weather - all are part of the wonderful experience that is walking in Ireland. Ireland is booming, and with growth comes change. Of course the Irish still love to have craic (good times), but with the job of running a tiger economy comes responsibility: today you're as likely to swap stories and laughs over a double decaf latte as a pint of Guinness. Yet the old Irish warmth and welcome remains, and millions of visitors testify to the sheer ease with which they've made friends here. From the lonely, wind-lashed wilderness of Donegal to the postcard landscapes of West Cork, Ireland is one of the world's most scenic countries.

Pub culture is central - nay! - integral to Irish social life. To sample at the source, the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin can take you through the history and production of the famed 'black stuff'. For some of Ireland's best pubs head to Galway city; if you are bored or thirsty in the 'City of Tribes' you are doing something wrong.

Ireland's new found affluence has seen the nation's art and culture blossom: theatre, music and cinema enjoy a dynamic space in Ireland's cultural landscape. In the realm of visual arts, the National Gallery has an extensive Irish School collection, a vivid chronicle of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy of old.

The Irish people's love of writing harks all the way back to the Dark Ages and the Book of Kells. More recently, Ireland has contributed a legacy of world-renowned writers including Oscar Wilde, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, who are all celebrated at the Dublin Writer's Museum.

The name ’Burren’ comes from the Irish word ’boireann’ which means ’a rocky place’. For some reason it is nowadays usually referred to as The Burren. It is here that a featured supplier to MSS is found: “Burren Perfumery”.The distinctive feature of the Burren is its karst topography. This refers to the surface and underground features of the landscape caused by the dissolution of the bedrock (in this case limestone) by mildly acidic rainfall (rain picks up CO2 in the atmosphere to form weak carbonic acid). The Burren is best known, perhaps, for its flora, rather than its geology. Three quarters of all native flowering species that grow in Ireland can be found in the Burren, including most of Ireland’s orchid species. The Burren also boasts unique plants usually found in the Artic, a possible legacy of the last period of glaciation in Ireland.

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