5 relaxing retreats in Ireland

Barnaslingan, County Dublin

We all need time to chill out and relax. These are 5 of the best ways to recharge your batteries in Ireland...

1. Take a dip in a seaweed bath

Imagine it. You've spent the day exploring the lush green wilds of Ireland, trekking across heather-covered hills, pristine beaches and rugged coastline. And now, you need something to help restore your weary limbs, and bring you back to life. Enter the seaweed bath! Steeped in tubs of steaming hot seawater, seaweed baths have been used since Edwardian times to restore aching limbs and make skin feel more supple. Try out this decadent treat at the Voya Seaweed Baths in County Sligo, with fresh seaweed straight from the wild Atlantic Ocean!

2. Embark on a walking festival

Dust off the cobwebs and go on an adventure in the great outdoors! There's nothing quite like a bracing walk in the fresh air while gazing out over Ireland's stunning scenery to help you feel utterly rejuvenated. The Mourne International Walking Festival takes place in June every year, and features unforgettable views over the fairytale landscape that is the Mourne Mountains. Or if you can't get enough of the salty sea air whistling in from the open ocean, then try the scenic Loop Head Walking and Heritage Festival, taking in the miles of unspoilt beauty and dramatic clifftop views of County Clare.

3. Get back to nature with the Slow Food Movement

Beginning in Italy in the 1980s, the Slow Food Movement has made its way around the world, promoting environmentally friendly and delicious ways to enjoy local food and produce. In Ireland, where there are so many incredible artisan creations, it has found a natural home. Eat your way around Ireland enjoying healthy and high-quality slow foods by checking out these suppliers, or go straight to the source at the Burren Slow Food Festival for a concentrated helping of tasty and nutritious slow food.

4. Cruise down Ireland's waterways

The slow bob of the boat in the water, waves lapping gently at the prow, the call of waterbirds in the air... Cruising down one of Ireland's waterways has to be one of the most supremely relaxing experiences you can enjoy on the island. The network of inland lakes, rivers and canals that criss-cross the land let you explore from the water. You don't need a licence to go cruising in Ireland and there's no commercial traffic on the waterways, so all you'll need is a bit of training and a rented boat to take advantage of this utterly serene activity. 

5. Get crafty

Ireland has a fine history of the arts – from painters like Jack Butler Yeats to authors like Seamus Heaney, the contribution this island has made to the world of creative culture is huge. Embark on a retreat to one of Ireland's creative centres and tap into this long legacy by indulging in the arts and releasing your imagination. Take a class in the visual arts, dance or pottery at The Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast, hone your writing skills at the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin, or really immerse yourself at the Galway International Arts Festival (July) for the ultimate crafty experience. 

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