This is the third in my series about the beauty of Ireland.
On our recent trip to Ireland, we spent several days near the west coast. One day, we drove into The Burren, an area made up of huge limestone pavements with fissures in them. The mountains and the flat areas are covered in rock. It's a haunting sight, like a lunar landscape.
Surprisingly, grass and flowers grow between, around, and even on top of these rock pavements. These resilient and beautiful flowers and plants inspired the founding of the Burren Perfumery, a small West Ireland-based company that makes cosmetics and fragrances.
Despite the rock, the Burren contains more than 70% of Ireland's wildflower species. The whole area is protected now, so the Perfumery uses ingredients from elsewhere, but their products are still organic and made by hand on site. The drive through the Burren to the Perfumery led us along increasingly narrow, deserted roads, lined with stone and grass on both sides under a clear, blue sky (no rain in sight). It was a wild, beautiful view.
The Perfumery, a remote though charming place, consists of a shop, tea rooms, and a blending room. An employee did a fragrance demo for us where she explained the products and offered us samples. Pretty soon, we all smelled very pleasant (but not overpowering since the products are organic), and we left with a bag full of lotion, lip balm, and a candle.
Our next stop was the Cliffs of Moher. After a walk up a steep hill or two, we found ourselves on top of the famed cliffs looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. The water was a deep, rich blue and then teal in some places. It was extremely windy—knock-you-over windy—and very chilly—frozen-ears-and-noses chilly. We were glad for our jackets and sweaters. Along with all the other people there, we took dozens of pictures and just gazed at the sight, hoping to stamp it on our memories. It’s a wild, spectacular place.
The next day, we got another amazing view, though very different. We drove along the west coast in Connemara, which was also rugged, rocky, and green. We saw white and gray Connemara ponies, the tamed descendants of the wild ponies that used to populate this area. Yellow and white wildflowers along the road echoed the yellow and white painted lines on the pavement, so that the road itself became part of the beautiful scene.
We went through Clifden, a small, colorful town with twin church spires, up to Sky Road, which runs high along the cliff. As we climbed, the sea to our left was wild with several beaches of white sand. It was overcast and rainy, but still we could see a long way out into the Atlantic. At the top, the gray sky and the gray water met at the horizon. The view was absolutely breathtaking, and I marveled again, as I did so often on the trip, about the beauty that God has given us to enjoy.