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Posted by on Jun 27, 2012 in Spa Reviews | 2 comments

Irish Pampering, Castle-Style

Irish Pampering, Castle-Style

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By Joan Scobey

Tucked within the walls of Dromoland Castle, a turreted Irish bastion whose foundations were laid in the 16th century, is a very 21st century spa. Off the main neo-Gothic gallery with its suits of armor and tapestries, rich dark furnishings, coffered ceiling and crystal chandeliers is a staircase that takes you down to a modest contemporary spa. Opened in 2007, its light wood fittings, mood lighting and soft music, scented candles and fresh flowers contrast with, or perhaps complement, the castle’s baronial life.

Tucked within the walls of a genuine Irish castle is a very modern spa.

The cozy space encompasses six treatment rooms, two dedicated manicure-pedicure rooms and a relaxation suite. Just outside, in an ornamental courtyard with lounge chairs, is a generous hydro spa (aka hot tub), covered with a handsome modern wooden structure for year-round use. Nine therapists are on call, in addition to mani-pedicurists.

In addition, fitness facilities include an indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room and fully-equipped gymnasium.

The Spa recently dropped the Anne Semonin Treatment Collection in favor of the organic Irish product VOYA, marketed by an Irish family-owned company in County Sligo.  It is entirely seaweed based, incorporating the natural resource of marine nutrients that restore, renew, and rebalance skin and muscles. Every day the seaweed is sustainably hand-harvested on Ireland’s west coast.

This potent natural therapy, indigenous to Ireland and used for generations as a treatment for skin conditions, is part of formulations that include seaweed oil, muslin-bagged herb-seaweed applications and seaweed leaves. In fact, the spa is particularly proud of its certified organic facial products, specifically designed to help skin regeneration, minimize visible signs of premature ageing, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, hydrate the skin and increase firmness through collagen production.

Of particular note: VOYA’s entire line is currently among the highest rated organic products in the world, and its treatments are the first to use an entire range of 100% certified organic therapies, all of which fits nicely into Dromoland’s robust green initiative.

The Treatment Menu reflects the spa’s holistic philosophy, and addresses just about every part and need of the body beautiful, including wedding and maternity preparations. It is so extensive that you may find a brief overview helpful:

The Facial Collection and its anti-ageing therapies are a particular source of pride. In addition to treatments for the face and décolletage, therapies for the eye area and a variety of men’s skin offerings are also available.

The Body Therapy Collection targets back, neck, and shoulder areas with hot stone and other massages. A menu of body wraps detoxify, relieve pain, and improve circulation with tailored ingredients and applications. Body exfoliation sessions invigorate, polish and seal in hydration.

The spa’s Signature Treatments are another way to view the holistic totality:

Fig Leaf Therapy (2 hrs €199) starts with an aromatic exfoliating fig body scrub, followed with a fig and seaweed body wrap that stimulates the blood and lymph flow while increasing the skin’s tone and texture. It is an excellent skin rejuvenator which combats cellulite and muscle fatigue. The finish is a made-to-measure full body massage.

Gaelic Escape (1 hr 15mins €140) is a deep release massage for the back, feet and legs along with a heated detoxifying mask for the back to actively reduce muscular tension, plus a hot stone massage of the back, neck and shoulders

Gaelic Beauty (1 hr 25mins €160), a regenerating face and eye therapy, is a smoothing and firming treatment with noticeable increase in skin elasticity, using hand harvested organic seaweed leaves, lymphatic massage techniques and a heated oil scalp treatment.

Gaelic Body Experience (1 hr 25 mins €150) is a full body treatment designed to polish and perfect the skin. A Dead Sea salt body scrub buffs the skin and prepares for a deeply nourishing organic seaweed oil full body and head massage.

Spa treatments now employ the organic Irish product VOYA, which is entirely seaweed based.

Spa Specials:

Pamper Me Please  (90 mins €150)

*Full Body Exfoliation

*Hot Stone Back, Neck &Shoulder Massage

*VOYA Express Organic Facial

Temptation Tuesdays (50 mins  €79)

Full Body Massage OR  Voya Facial Experience

Midweek Magic  (60 mins €89)

*Back, Neck & Shoulders Massage

*VOYA Express Organic Facial

Treat Yourself Thursdays (75 mins   €115)

*Full Body Exfoliation

*Hydrating Kaolin Clay Body Wrap

*VOYA Express Organic Facial

*Finish with Lunch from our ‘SpaBites’ Menu

Friday Feeling(80 mins   €99)

The spa’s extensive treatment menu features effective treatments for every body need.

*VOYA Express Organic Facial

*Mini Manicure

*Mini Pedicure

From all these house specials, I chose Pamper Me Please, because it included exactly what I was hoping for.

It started with a full-body exfoliation, a polishing with marine algae, dead  sea salt and organic seaweed oil that promised to nourish my skin, and reveal a fresh layer of skin cells for maximum penetration of the organic oil. I hope it did all that because removing all the gritty exfoliant required a long, long shower with strong water pressure.

Now primed for a deep-release hot stone back massage, this step softened tight muscles and lulled me into blissful relaxation. The final pampering was a mini organic facial that ended with a gel mask filled with antioxidants and a scalp massage.

Here’s a summary look at Dromoland’s regular spa menu:

The Facial Collection

Royal Dromoland Facial (1 hour 25 mins €140) is a signature oxygenating facial for neck, décolleté & eye treatment using a blend of organic essential oils and botanical ingredients. A skin-perfecting polish which will allow maximum penetration of our certified organic facial serum to boost the skin’s natural defenses. A specific eye treatment brightens, reduces puffiness and encourages collagen production. Freshly hand-harvested strips of seaweed lifts and firms while you receive a restorative scalp treatment with concentrated seaweed massage oil.

VOYA Organic Environmental Defence Facial & Back Therapy (75 mins €110), suitable for all skin types, this back, face and scalp facial is of particular benefit for city skins, oily, congested, problematic skin types. It includes a deep cleansing back treatment and gentle back exfoliation followed by an application of organic seaweed oil to detoxify and nourish the back, neck and shoulders. With specific facial massage& lymphatic drainage techniques, the organic marine mask and hand harvested seaweed leaf strips will hydrate and purify while stimulating the circulatory system, leaving the skin calm, cleansed, re-balanced and a clearer complexion.

VOYA Deluxe Facial Experience (75 mins €110), a revolutionary Seaweed Facial to deeply renew, revive and soften dry and dehydrated skin starts by body-brushing the back to reveal the fresh layer of skin cells, followed by a detoxifying massage of the back, neck and shoulders. The organic facial uses finely ground wet organic seaweed to gently exfoliate your face. The facial massage will stimulate circulation and lymphatic flow before the application of freshly harvested organic seaweed leaves to your face and neck, ending with alight scalp massage and hair treatment.

VOYA Organic Anti-Aging Facial (75 mins €100), suitable for all skin types but of particular benefit for mature, dry or dehydrated skin, this rejuvenating facial uses VOYA’s organic ingredients that combine anti oxidant algae complexes, pro collagen organic extracts and a restorative blend of organic ingredients. These ingredients fight the signs of visible aging, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, hydrate and plump the skin. Hand harvested seaweed strips enrich the skin with deeply hydrating nutrients for instantly firmed and tightened skin with a natural radiant glow, perfect after a long flight.

VOYA Facial Experience (50 mins €80), a double action organic cleanse and exfoliation with a superlight blend of organic botanical herbs, seaweed and bamboo. The massage with freshly harvested organic seaweed oil hydrates and purifies, and a gel mask packed with powerful antioxidants precedes a light head massage.

VOYA Express Organic Facial (25 mins €60), an express version of the above, for tired, dull, dehydrated skin. It purifies the skin with a hydrating double cleanse, removes dead skin cells, protects and nourishes with an antioxidant gel mask and finishes with a luxurious scalp massage.

VOYA Marine Eye Therapy(25 mins €50), a deeply nourishing eye treatment to brighten, reduce puffiness and encourage collagen production. A therapeutic lymphatic eye massage encourages toxin elimination, hydrates and purifies the eye contour. This specific eye treatment may be added to any of our facials.

Body Therapies: 

Just outside the spa, in an ornamental courtyard with lounge chairs, is a generous hydro spa (aka hot tub), covered with a handsome modern wooden structure for year-round use.


Heavenly Face & Body Ritual (2hrs €170), a full body massage followed by an organic facial experience.

Ultimate Body Retreat (2 hrs   €180), Dead Sea Salts & Organic Oil Body Scrub& Wrap followed by a full body massage with hot stones.

Seaweed Leaf& Hot Stone Massage (55mins   €125), one of the spa’s star treatments, uses soothing aromatic organic essential oils and leaves of seaweed, then heated basalt stones on organic seaweed leaves are placed along specific energy meridians all over the body. The dual action of the heat releases precious extracts from the seaweed which penetrate into the skin and soothe the muscles.

Deep Release Massage with Hot Stones (55 mins €110,25 mins   €70), an intensive therapy using heated basalt stones to massage the muscles and release deep seated tension..

Made-to-Measure Organic Oil Massage (90mins   €155, 50 mins €90, 25 mins – €65), massages tailor made to suit your needs, incorporating traditional Swedish massage techniques and deep tissue where required.

Reflexology (1 hr – €90).

Indian Head Massage (45 mins – €70).

Together Special (1hr 20 mins   €130 per person), a Full Body Massage & Express Organic Facial in our couple’s suite.

VOYA Muslin Bag Massage (55 mins €100), a full body massage using muslin bags in place of hands-on touch. The soaked & heated bags of therapeutic herbs and seaweed are gently massaged into the body, releasing precious seaweed oils onto the skin. Choose from Calming Chamomile, Detoxifying Fennel,  and Stimulating Peppermint.

Body Exfoliation:

Marine Algae and Salt Exfoliation (25mins   €60), a body scrub with active ground seaweeds and salt ingredients.

Lavender/Peppermint Sugar Glow (1 hr  €90), choose the Lavender healing and soothing or the Peppermint cooling and toning body scrub, both infused with organic brown sugar to exfoliate and renew the skin.

Dead Sea Salts & Organic Oil Body Scrub (25 mins   €60, 1 hr  €90)

A hydrating natural salt and seaweed oil body polish which brightens skin tone, nourishes and increases luminosity. The longer treatment includes a heated oil head massage & scalp treatment.

Body Wraps:

Seaweed Leaf Wrap (1hr 15 mins   €150), an unparalleled VOYA treatment for detoxification, weight loss, and tired and dehydrated skin, begins with a seaweed exfoliation, continues with large leaves of warm seaweed applied to the body, releasing active anti oxidants and nutrients which penetrate into the skin, and finishes with an application of organic body moisturizer to seal and nourish.

Detoxifying Seaweed Body Wrap (30 mins   €65), a warm seaweed preparation which gives a detoxifying and slimming effect, stimulating the elimination of toxins from the body.

Hydrating Kaolin Clay Body Wrap (30 mins  €65), A heated therapeutic, nutrient-rich kaolin clay body envelopment designed to hydrate, nourish and soften even the most dehydrated skins, plus a hot oil scalp therapy.

Specific Pain Relief Mask (20 mins  €55), a stimulating self heating treatment for specific areas of chronic pain, stiffness, or tension.

Cryo Leg Therapy (20 mins   €55), a specific cold marine algae eg wrap to improve circulation and release fluid retention. Excellent post-flight and in the treatment of cellulite and heavy legs.

Mermaids Purse (1 hr   €115), an anti-ageing and anti cellulite treatment to improve skin suppleness and elasticity, it uses dry hand mitt body exfoliation, an organic seaweed wrap, and a scalp treatment with head massage.


Two €75 midweek packages (Monday-Thursday) offer small bites of the spa, both incorporating your choice of any 25-minute treatment and full use of the spa facilities: Refresh & Revive includes spa lunch in The Gallery and Afternoon Indulgence includes afternoon tea.

For a broader experience, several spa packages combine three treatments into a two-hour package, with a spa lunch, for €199, and the Ultimate Journey Package  (5hrs  €480 + spa lunch in The Gallery) programs a day of bliss with a Full Body Exfoliation, Detoxifying Seaweed Body Wrap, Hot Stone Massage, Organic Anti Ageing Facial, Marine Eye Therapy, Mini Manicure, and Mini Pedicure.

Wedding, honeymoon, and maternity packages round out the extensive spa menu, as well as nail treatments for men and women, make up applications, and a hair salon, which specializes in wedding styling but offers the full range of professional salon services as well. For full particulars and prices, contact the spa.

The Spa at Dromoland, Dromoland Castle, Newmarket on Fergus, County Clare,Tel: 800-346-7007,

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