Our spas are sanctuaries of calm and pampering that combine the nourishment of the island’s natural resources, such as mineral-rich seaweeds, with cutting-edge treatments from around the world. Throw in a good dose of that famous Irish hospitality, and you have a spa getaway that is pretty much unforgettable.
Relaxing and award-winning
Ireland’s spas have been gaining attention worldwide. The experts at Condé Nast Traveller named County Wexford’s Monart Spa one of their top three spa retreats in the world in both in 2010 and 2011, and it was selected as among the top 10 destinations in the world by Forbes magazine.
Slieve Donard’s two-floored ESPA spa deep in the County Down countryside was deemed “a world-class spa with a stunning setting” by British Airways’ High Life magazine.
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And it doesn’t stop there. It might have a monastic theme, but there’s nothing austere about Cloisters Spa in Kerry’s Muckross Park Hotel, which was anointed “Luxury Hotel Spa of the Year” by World Luxury Hotel Awards.
The preferred Belfast relaxation-spot for countless VIPs including Tom Jones, Dolly Parton and the Irish Rugby Team, meanwhile, is the five-star Hastings Culloden Estate and Spa.
Location, location, location
The settings for these blissful breaks are also pretty special, and can range from an opulent castle dating back centuries to the very modern, super-glam boutique hotel. Take these two, for starters…
The five-star Solis Lough Eske Castle spa in County Donegal is nestled into woodland along a lakeshore overlooked by a mountain range; or if you fancy something a bit more urban, the G Hotel is a five-star feast for the eyes designed by milliner Philip Treacy in the heart of Galway city – with an ESPA spa you just won’t want to leave.
Seaweed is renowned for its therapeutic qualities; marine cure therapy is one of Ireland’s most famous indigenous therapies and was cultivated during the Edwardian era. Voya is responsible for bringing the therapy to international attention with a cosmetics line and spa based in Strandhill, County Sligo.
Built by the Walton family in place of the original Strandhill bath houses, this day spa attracts 40,000 visitors every year. There are facials and seaweed body-wraps, but the simple 50-minute steep in a tub full of seaweed in one of their private or shared rooms can be summed up in one word: blissful.
Voya’s products and treatments are based around their famed organic seaweed oil, which is harvested by hand along the pristine Atlantic coast. Like the sound of that? Then you’ll also be interested to know that there are seaweed baths all over the island, including the Connemara Seaweed Baths in County Galway and the SOAK Seaweed Baths in Newcastle, County Down.
What else is in store?
On the treatment menu, you’ll find traditional therapies and cutting-edge treatments, such as a hot stone massage with local basalt followed by the latest in steam showers, ice fountains and dry flotation tanks.
Out on Cork’s Fota Island Resort, the spa boasts a “walking river” and a unique range of treatments, including a chocolate body wrap, milk and honey bath, and gold body polish made with 24-carat gold. Victorian Treatment Rooms at Castle Leslie offer specially designed Victorian steam boxes; while at the Ritz Carlton Powerscourt, County Wicklow, the spa boasts a 20-metre Swarovski crystal-lit pool. How cool is that?
Serenity at your fingertips…
Getting back to that totally serene environment we talked about…Monart in County Wexford is a child-free, party-free destination spa, with meditation and t’ai chi taught by a Shaolin master brought over from China, and traditional Shaolin Warrior massages.
Fantasy scenery, deep-tissue massages and a side order of seaweed… If you’re after something relaxing, we’ve got you covered.