The right fragrance can set the scene for a romantic evening in, create the perfect atmosphere for a dinner party or help to ease stress before bedtime. While the first slew of scented candles to grab the attention of the Irish homeowner were made in other countries, Irish brands are now punching well above their weight in terms of quality and choice. Here are a few of our homegrown favourites...
Bluebell Eco Candles
Hand poured in Co.Kerry, Bluebell Eco Candles provide exceptional value, burning up to 40% longer than paraffin candles. A finalist in the 2012 Green Awards, Bluebell Eco Candles also created the Signature Aromatherapy Candle (with lemongrass tones to revitalise the senses) sold in the Cloisters Spa at the Muckross Park Hotel. From €12 including shipping, www.bluebellecocandles.com.
La Bougie Hand Poured Perfumery Candles
Produced in West Cork, La Bougie's luxury candles are carefully blended using essential oils and aromatics from around the world. No two fragrances are the same and each one takes months if not years to perfect. We love their Sweet Pea and Pear Valise Candle, which offers all the charm of sweet peas in a cottage garden, enhanced with a pinch of brown sugar.
Available from La bougie.ie and The Pavillion Garden Centre, Ballygarvan, Cork, €24.95
Run by brothers Mark and David Van den Bergh and named after their ten year-old nephews, Max and Ben, the Wicklow-based Max Benjamin company produces 15 luxury candle and diffuser fragrances. Our favourite is the Dodoci, a stylish blend of rosemary, sicilian lemon and marjoram on a backdrop of Tuscan lavender. €28, from www.maxbenjamin.ie and The Kilkenny Shop.
Sally Miller Collection
Aromatherapist Sally Miller manufactures natural cosmetics and candles in Lisavaird, Clonakilty. Her soy candle tins, available in Winter Spice, Lavender, Lemon & Chamomile or Rose, fill the room with lasting fragrance. We love the True Lavender version, the ideal bath time companion! From €9.95, www.sallymiller.ie.
Contrary to their tongue-in-cheek name, Bog Standard candles are in fact anything but; crafted by Alix Mulholland in a converted mushroom factory outside Carryduff in Co. Down, the colourful range aims to capture the real Irish scents of green fields, winding country roads, moist mist and rain. Irish Winter, a soothing blend of clove and cinnamon, is a must for the colder months. From €13.60, www.bogstandard.ie.
Brooke & Shoals
Founded in 2004 by Alison Banton in the picturesque seaside town of Greystones in County Wicklow, Brooke & Shoals' divine fragrances are designed to uplift, relax and invigorate their user. We love their woody grounding Green Fig and Vetiver candle from €17.95, www.thatsjustgorgeous.com.
Gifted by Nature
Gifted by Nature's soya wax candles burn cleanly with no sooty deposits or nasty petrochemicals released in the air. Their box sets make fantastic gifts for eco-conscious friends, from €31.08, www.econatural.ie.
Now available in Cork at the lifestyle brand's Brown Thomas outlet, Avoca's larger Keepsake Scented candle offers 30 hours of lovely zestiness in five yummy scents. Try the exhilarating, wake-me-up Grapefruit candle €16.96.