When talking about the typical Irish cottage, one immediately thinks of those whitewashed, small buildings with a thatched roof, the front door divided into two and turf smoke coming out of the chimney in lazy spirals, spreading the typical scent all around ... a picture of warmth and coziness, surely the obvious concept of home that every Irish emigrant bore in his heart. Currently, these traditional houses are almost entirely the prerogative of the tourists who rent them for an unforgettable "truly Irish" holiday, while the locals have now replaced them with more modern buildings of easy maintenance (shingled roof, PVC windows, and doors, concrete brick walls etc.)

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The green gold of Connemara: this is the name given by the locals to the marble of Connemara, a variety whose origins date back to the Precambrian, about 600 million years ago. This marble is a very ancient one, extremely resistant to scratches and stains: this characteristic makes it suitable for many uses, from kitchen tops to altars, jewelry and various items. The Connemara marble is obviously green (how lucky Irish are! Even the marble complies with the symbolism of the emerald isle...), with colour variations ranging from soft to dark green or gray, cream and sepia. Even today it is extracted from the Letternosh quarry, located at Streamtown near Clifden and opened in 1800-1810.

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Looking at the green fields of Connemara dotted with sheep, cows, and horses in peaceful though crowded coexistence, one wonders how it is possible to gather all these animals when there is a need to: the solution is to rely on a widespread breed of dogs, i.e. the Border Collie. This breed of shepherd dogs is universally recognized as the world's smartest one, just behind the Poodle. Named a "workaholic" for its sheer drive and love for working, the Border Collie has "an eye" that can hypnotize cattle; actually, this dog can master any type of herd by crouching down and mesmerizing the animals with its intense stare.

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Touring Ireland your nose will certainly be stricken by a very persistent and widespread scent, absolutely distinctive and unique: it's turf, the fuel most widely used around the country, mainly because Ireland actually lies on a bog for most of its territorial extent. Pleasure or pain for tourists (who may be intolerant of this peculiar smell, or fall in love with it and buy some little turf-burners to take home as aromatic souvenirs), turf has been used as fuel for several centuries (there is evidence of this from the eighth century on), not only because it's easier than wood to cut and transport, but also because this material makes no sparks while burning, a feature of extreme importance in a country where the houses were covered with thatched roofs, and therefore highly flammable.

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The term Sean nós means "old style" and indicates both a traditional singing and a dance, typically performed in western Ireland. These artistic expressions are "minimalist", that is, it's possible to perform them without musical accompaniment, or also on a musical background played by a few instruments, such as wooden spoons or the accordion, simple tools used by the rural people during festivals and entertainment. The value of this sound is remarkable because it was decisive in saving the traditional culture inherited from ancestors and in passing it on to new generations.

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