Galway in Irish is known as Gaillimhe in Gaelic, the city of tribes, where Celtic tribes would once gather. Situated on the windy Atlantic coast of Ireland.
The colorful houses comprise a part of Galway called The Long Walk or Claddagh Quay – a rope shop, the grey stone building was where both men and women would walk up and down the narrow path making rope.
In Galway there is one herb shop and apothecary, owned by herbalist and medical doctor, Dr. Dilis Clare Apothecary, selling herbal blends, teas and tinctures. This particular weekend herbalists gathered at her shop to discuss educational training and the future of herbal medicine.
A short stroll away in central Galway is the shop and tasting room, American Village Apothecary, owned by herbalist and mixologist Clare Davey.
Clare specialises in herbal cocktails, bitters, medicinal syrups and other colorful beverages. On the wall is a Birgids cross, traditionally made the beginning of each February, intended to welcome in the upcoming spring and impart protection in the home.
The Herbal del Rei or Herbolari del Rei in Spanish, is a stunning gem of a herb shop found hidden in the stone side streets of the ancient Gothic district of Barcelona – walking distance from La Rambla. It is located thru a side passage near to the Royal Square / Plaza Real in the Street of Glass # 1. or Carrer del Vidre, 1, 08002 or through the street Carrer de Ferran. It was apparently created in 1818 and moved to its present location in 1823, and is dedicated to the sale of medicinal plants and natural products. As one of the oldest shops in Barcelona, thankfully it has been declared a site of Culture and Local Interest and hopefully it will remain open for more people to visit and enjoy.
Inside the herb shop is beautiful and needs to be experienced in person for the full impression ( but you can also click on the pictures for a larger view). Decoration is Elizabethan style, dating back to 1857 – with a glass roof, old spanish wooden hand painted drawers housing ancient secrets, arched wood panels, statues, oil paintings and lovely old watercolors; in the center of the shop is a marble fountain (apparently once used for preserving leeches) and beautiful hand painted tiles of medicinal plants can be found tucked away throughout the shop and then of course there are the herbal medicines stored inside glass shelves. An assortment of Catalan herbal products, spices, dried herbs, beeswax candles, teas, licorice and other natural products are found filling every inch of the shop.
Trinidad Sabatés is the shop owner, who was honored as a master on Medicinal plants by the Generalitat de Catalunya. When visiting we were fortunate to meet both Trinidad and her husband, who spoke more english and offered a lengthy commentary in both english and catalan (thankfully I had a translator) on the history of the shop and herbal medicine and the unfortunate tight regulations of herbal medicines in Spain.
If you are planning to visit- confirm their business hours first – (Currently they are only open from Tuesday to Friday from 4 pm to 8 pm and on Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm) and double check the address (google maps) – as it took 3 separate trips to the area to discover the actual address and then find the shop open (the store hours, shop name and address seem only to be located on the inside of the doors and shutters, only visible when the shop is actually open)… but that is the fun of discovering new places in a new country. Herbolari del Rei is also on facebook and offers periodic classes and tours through the historical enchanting shop – unfortunately the tours are only in Catalan or Spanish- so bring a spanish friend like I did!
One of the things I love most about travelling is the opportunity to check out herbal medicine shops and products in other countries – especially the old herbal apothecaries of europe. During a trip to Paris, I had the pleasure of visiting two traditional herb shops: Herboristerie de la Place Clichy and Herboristerie d’Hippocrate.
– occurred during an unexpected torrential spring down pour – as I wandered through the narrow winding cobblestone streets of the Latin Quarter in search of the correct address. As luck would have it, I arrived during their lunch time and the shop was closed – but found a small cafe and warmed up/ dried out while I waited for their 2 pm opening. The wait was worth it and the shop was delightful. Numerous species of dry herbs, dozens of liquid extracts of herbal medicines and traditional recipes for various ailments. Antique hand painted herb containers, dried flowers and a high ceiling decorated in a traditional french style.
Herboristerie de la Place Clichy was another delight – the oldest and largest herb shop in Paris- established in 1880 (that makes it older than the Eiffel Tower). The boutique is located at 87 Rue D’Amsterdam 75008 in North Paris.
I had the pleasure of meeting one of the owners, Nicole, a pharmacist who had purchased the shop in 1993 and we shared stories of herbs and compared experiences from our differing countries. She kindly gifted me a french herbal medicine reference book “La Phytotherapie” by Dr Jean Valnet – a valuable reference text full of traditional french herbal recipes, actions and indications. I am grateful that the Latin names of herbal medicines are consistent regardless of what language and what country one is visiting- thus the book has been a fantastic reference and comparative tool.
Exploring the shop I felt right at home looking at the various remedies and herbal blends for numerous ailments such as: Combat les troubles de la Prostate, Combat la Colite, Digestion Difficile, Combat l’Acne. The shop stocks over 900 species of plant medicine in various forms, dried, extracts, aromatherapy, massage oils and hydrosols.