During one of the first days of our family holiday this summer, before we knew that the weather was going to abruptly change and give us the freedom to spend almost the whole week surfing and swimming, we sat around researching activities in the area. There were all sorts of famous restaurants, boat trips, deep caves, historic buildings, pretty villages and natural gems to keep us plenty occupied. However, among all the outings we planned, there was one destination that I chose and pushed, despite the lack of interest among everyone else: the Burren Perfumery.
I'm a great lover of Irish beauty products and am always fascinated by things done smaller, done locally, steeped in tradition. The Burren Perfumery is the oldest working perfumery in Ireland and produces a variety of fragrances, aromatherapy products, soaps and a skincare range. Everything is made on site using local flora and sold in a physical store as well as online.
Now run by Sadie Chowen, an English perfumer that came to work for the perfumery, and Ralph Doyle, formerly employed in the IT sector, the whole place is as lovely and romantic as the couple's origin story. The two took over the business in 2001. They met onsite in 1995, when Chowen rented a cottage to Doyle and went from being a landlady to a wife, after falling from a horse and being nursed back to health by her tenant.
Today, the perfumery is a beautiful place, nestled amongst the bountiful, vibrant and protected flora of the Burren. The site is made up of production rooms, a shop, gardens that can be toured and a tea room, all in stone buildings, alive with plants. During summer months, the place is bustling with tourists and there are all sorts of tours and talks on offer, out of season, things are a good deal quieter and the tea room closes. Either which way, the perfumery is worth the visit. It feels tucked out of the way, like a secret garden, and the lovely store is filled with incredible beauty products that are just waiting to be discovered.
When I visited, I mostly spent my money on some of the body products and soaps for my mother, who wanted them but is normally loathe to spend money on herself. As such, the only thing that I have personally tried is the Honey & Beeswax Organic Lip Balm (€ 9.50) but it has remained on my nightstand since I purchased it and barely has a dent in it, despite daily use. I swear by it now.
If you happen to visit for yourself, the perfumes, candles and skincare line all intrigued me and I'll definitely stock up on some more products during my next visit - and I do plan another visit.
For beauty lovers exploring Ireland or Irish beauty lovers looking to shop local, it really is a must.
P.S. The film about the Burren playing in the room just off the shop is utterly hypnotising and lovely and so relaxing to watch.