Rooted in the untouched west coast of Ireland, new wellness brand Hibernicis (pronounced HI-BER-NI-KIS) is all about celebrating the destination in which it was born. Not only does it use the natural resources, such as seaweed, from the Connemara and the Atlantic coastline, but it was founded by Catherine Logue to champion Ireland’s cultural and linguistic heritage. The word ‘Hibernicis’ (Latin: from Ireland), for instance, is also presented in ancient Ogham script, and each of the brand’s products bears a Gaelic name.
“I have always been particularly passionate about natural skincare and body-care,” says Catherine. “For me, Ireland is an incredibly beautiful land with a fascinating and complex history, and so I started the journey of developing a range which reflects how I feel about the country.”
As well as product efficacy, each of the Hibernicisis products have a unique texture and pleasing skin-feel – from the Úr Exfoliating Gel (pronounced OOR and meaning ‘new’) which has an exceptional velvet-gel like texture and is applied to dry skin, to the Síoda Body Serum (pronounced SHE-O-DA and meaning ‘silk’), which, as its name suggests, has a silk-satin feel to it. At the brand’s heart, natural aromas are key and are individually blended for each product. Seaweed extracts are a constant through all the products, with the marine plant known to be detoxifying, packed with vitamins K, B, A, and E, that help improve skin tone, texture and elasticity.
With more than 30 years’ global experience in the beauty industry, Catherine started her cosmetics journey in Sydney, Australia and, after working throughout Asia, she moved to London to set up leading beauty company, Chantecaille, in Europe and Asia. Having now branched out on her own, she spends her time between Ireland, Hong Kong and Australia.
Here, exclusively for Forbes, Catherine Logue, founder of Hibernicis, reveals her ultimate guide to the west coast of Ireland…
Back in 2015, I was driving on the Old Bog Road in Connemara, completely struck by its vastness, beauty and desolation. It reminded me of a coloured negative of central Australia, a grey sky opposed to blue, wet instead of dry, green land versus red dirt. I decided then and there that my next creation would honour Ireland and be inspired by this very area.
Our favourite place to stay in Connemara is Ballynahinch Castle. It’s really a fancy fishing lodge with divine food! It sits on interconnecting waterways near the Old Bog Road and each time I visit, I insist on driving on it.
Sligo is north of Connemara and is also surrounded by hills, waterways and lakes. On a brisk upward walk, you can see the megalithic tombs called Carrowkeel. It is part of an extensive landscape, settled by early Neolithic cattle-farmers from Brittany. An incredible, hive-shape series of passage-graves, constructed around 3,500 BC, can still be seen across the area’s highest summits.
Our favourite place to stay is Coopershill House, a Georgian mansion which has been owned and run for 250 years by the O’Hara Family. You can expect wonderfully warm service and sumptuous food, sourced from the grounds and local farmers.
Driving along the west coast, the landscape changes colour and can take on a greyish/mauve hue. You might spot the stones of the Burren, created millions of years ago during the Ice Age, when ice flows raised all life to the ground.
These days there is an abundance of stunning plant life, particularly wild flowers, that live in the rocky landscape. There are also man-made hidden gems to discover, too, such as the Burren Perfumery & Café and a chocolate shop, called Hazel Mountain Chocolate, nearby.
Gap of Dunloe
Another place of immense beauty is the little sister of the Ring of Kerry, called the Gap of Dunloe. Further west along the coast, in the Ballinskellig Hills, is Fermoyle Pottery, run by Stephen O’Connell and Alexis Bowman.
Having studied pottery, I was immediately enthralled to discover it. They use both hand-building and wheel-work as well as a variety of local elements in their glazes, such as ash, peat and nearby quarry dust.
Sheep’s Cove is dear to my heart, and a place I return to many times a year. It is off the beaten track, near Clonakilty, and about 30-minute drive from Kinsale where I live. It is a fine place for me to indulge in photography. There’s always something of beauty to capture.
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