Burren in Bloom Contributor Profiles
A professional botanist and ecologist since 1999, Dr Amanda Browne is the scientific/technical officer with the AranLIFE farming project. Amanda has extensive surveying experience of a range of habitats throughout Ireland and detailed knowledge of Irish flora and vegetation. More information on the AranLIFE project can be found on
Sarah is the main gardener for the Burren Perfumery.
Sadie Chowen owns and manages The Burren Perfumery, which has been a working factory for 45 years and attracts over 40,000 visitors each year. The business draws its entire identity and inspiration from its location in the heart of the Burren. With 20 years experience and a firm focus on product design and product formulation, Sadie draws inspiration from the flora and beauty of the unique Burren landscape to create the Perfumery’s signature scents, organic creams, artisan range of hand-crafted soaps and candles using the very best natural and organic ingredients sourced from all around the world. Visitors are welcome year-round to experience the manufacturing workshops, gift shop, Tea Rooms and award-winning, organic herb garden at The Burren Perfumery. For more, check out Facebook or visit www.burrenperfumery.com.
Gordon D'Arcy is an environmentalist, artist and author. He has written and illustrated many books on different aspects of the natural world and exhibited paintings in several countries. Much of his environmental work is in the field of education. A founder member of the Heritage in Schools Scheme he visits many national schools every year, teaching nature awareness through art and field trips. He runs and is involved in regular teachers courses on the theme of the environment and teaches in the Burren College of Art and part time in NUIG. Gordon has a vast amount of knowledge on the local flora and fauna of the Burren region.
Pádraic Fogarty, a professional ecologist from Castleknock in Dublin, holds degrees in Environmental Protection, Environment and Geography. Having served as chairman of the Irish Wildlife Trust, he now works as its campaigns officer and editor of the magazine Irish Wildlife. He is married with two children.
Janice Fuller is consultant ecologist with extensive experience of botanical survey, ecological monitoring and assessment. She also has a background in community development, and has worked with community groups throughout the west of Ireland on a wide range of projects including the production of local biodiversity plans, developing interpretive signage and exploring nature through art.
Mark is the owner of Mount Vernon a historic house offering accommodation located on the Flaggy Shore in County Clare. He is a keen gardener and the walled garden has provided repose and inspiration to many artists and writers since the 19th century.
Michael is a landowner of the beautiful lowlands areas of Muckanagh Lough near to Tubber in the Burren. Amongst other things he grows his own vegetables and fruit. He has many stories from the land in this area. He is a member of the Burren farming for conservation programme - The Burren Project.
Patsy is the landowner who farms under Cappanawalla mountain outside Ballyvaughan. He is a member of the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme.
Maria Long is the Irish Officer for the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI), and is based in the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin. She has been a member of the BSBI since 2006, and has worked in the field of ecology since 2001. Maria's role with the BSBI is to provide support for Irish County Recorders (40 counties in all), as well as promoting the BSBI, and botany in general, in Ireland.
John is a landowner of Clooncloose farm. His family have farmed there for generations. It is home to some of the best views across the Burren including over the iconic Mullaghmore Mountain and many different habitats – hazel woodland, wetlands, limestone pavements and more. He is a member of the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme.
Frank Sanford is US born, where he lived and painted in the American North West for many years before moving to Ireland’s Atlantic fringes twenty years ago. Frank’s passion for painting the Irish landscape, especially the limestone region of The Burren, grows by the year. He prefers to work outside from his immediate experience. His work has won awards and accolades. In Ireland he has been three times winner of the prestigious Wexford Plein Air competition. Always committed to his community, he has taught and exhibited locally for many years. Passion, subtlety and imagination are all present in his paintings, which communicate a stillness to the viewer, asking them to pause, look and ‘see with their heart’.
Micheline Sheehy Skeffington
Botanist Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington recently took early retirement from the Botany Department, NUI Galway, where she taught plant ecology. She has led annual botanical field courses in the Burren for 30 years and has supervised postgraduate students in the Burren, focusing on sustainable agriculture and working with the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme staff. She specialises in wetland ecology, including turloughs, flood-meadows (the Shannon callows) and peatlands and has published widely on these subjects.
Alan and Terri Shoosmith
Alan and Terri have lived in Clare for 28 years, and have lived in the east Burren since 2011. Their ethos is to grow food organically and to garden in harmony with the natural world. They have left grassy areas to grow without fertiliser or mowing, and now have a meadow containing over 120 orchids plus almost 40 species of wildflowers. They have planted trees and hedges and created ponds for frogs, newts and insects. Alan is an artist and teacher and Terri is a writer and historian. They teach art and gardening courses at their studio,
A graduate of Heritage Studies from GMIT (BA Hons), Siobhán's research areas include the experiences of rural communities living in areas designated as Special Areas of Conservation under EU Habitats Directives. Most recently Siobhán has explored Ireland’s food heritage; changes in agriculture and society and the disconnection between the source of our food and landscape. Based in Galway, Siobhán is also a qualified Hatha Yoga instructor and enjoys spending time in nature walking on the beaches, hills and side roads of Mayo and Galway with mindful appreciation of our place in the ecosystem. She is Communications and Educations officer with the Burren Nature Sanctuary.
Dr Dara Stanley is Lecturer in Plant Ecology in the Botany & Plant Science Department at NUI Galway. Her broad research interests span biodiversity, ecology and conservation. She is particularly interested in plants and the insects that pollinate them, and parts of both her research and teaching are based in the Burren.
Stephen Ward is a botanist who trained in Wales and Scotland. After retiring from a career in nature conservation in Wales, England and Scotland. For ten years up to 2014, he continued that career in a voluntary capacity in County Clare where he was a founder and Director of the Burrenbeo Trust and, with Sharon Parr, remains joint recorder for Clare for the Botanical Society of the Britain & Ireland. He continues to work as a volunteer in nature conservation in NW England. He is a keen bird-recorder and sends records of his sightings in Ireland and Britain to Birdtrack. He is a Patron of the Trust.
Lynda Weekes is a botanist that lectures in Wildlife Biology in the Institute of Technology, Tralee. She is a regular visitor to the Burren, and was lucky to spend last summer doing field work with the Burren Programme team. She has a long-standing interest in Botany and Biodiversity and her career has included working with the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford. Her botanical interests include bogland and heath, freshwater aquatic, limestone karst and grassland vegetation.
Carl's unusual garden near Fanore is a plantsman's paradise. Begun in 1999, it now covers over an acre and has been specifically designed to blend into and include the surrounding landscape. A series of interconnecting 'rooms' contain many different habitat types and many different features. including the Caher river, Hazel woodland, meadow areas, water features, archaeological sites and a vast collection of native and garden plants. A perfect place to discover the possibilities of gardening with nature in a difficult and wild location.