Connemara is bounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean and encompasses a wide variety of natural and semi-natural habitats, reflecting its great geomorphologic and geological complexity. It also has diverse economic resources. Among the more unusual are extensive deposits of soapstone and veins of green marble and vivid white quartz. In Neolithic times, the green marble was traded as far away as Lough Gur, County Limerick, and possibly to the Boyne Valley.
‘Connemara Marble’ is a serpentine-rich rock, popular since ancient times as a decorative facing stone. With its ‘forty shades of green’ and its wild patterns, it represents perfectly the landscapes of the Emerald Isle. Connemara Marble inspired artists, architects and artisans throughout the world. Jewellery and other small objects such as key rings, coasters and crosses are also made with this unique stone.
The Joyce family owns a Connemara Marble quarry in Recess. Their factory is based in the village, on the N59 between Clifden and Galway, where Joyce’s Craft Shop and Art Gallery can also be found (right across the road from the Connemara Giant monument). A wide range of Connemara Marble gifts are available there.
O’Dalaigh Jewellers, located on Main Street, Clifden, offer a fine collection of Connemara Marble jewellery in Celtic and contemporary designs, which is handmade on the premises. Their online jewellery shop, celticimpressions.com displays an excellent choice of remarkable pieces, sometimes inspired by magnificent Celtic artefacts in silver and gold exhibited at the National Museum of Ireland, the illuminated Book of Kells or the rock carvings of the Newgrange monuments.
First paragraph courtesy of Michael Gibbons
Photo of kitchen counter-top courtesy of Kevin Joyce, Connemarble