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Posted by on Jul 22, 2010 in Activities, Northwest, Sports, West | 8 comments

Taking a Seaweed Bath in Strandhill, County Sligo

Climbing to the top of a wet and foggy Croagh Patrick on Monday qualified this morning’s hike from the beach at Strandhill to the summit of Knocknarea Mountain a cake walk. Even with the the rain pouring down for the last bit of today’s journey, the hike had country roads most of the way and a decent path all the way to the top!

There was one personal highlight from the climb… I met Kim and her family from upstate New York. She’s a regular follower of the blog. Imagine my surprise when she asked, “Are you Corey?” She’s promised to send us pictures from their trip… I’ll be sure to post them when they arrive.

Voya Seaweed Bath - Strandhill, County Sligo, Ireland

Now Back to that Climb and the Seaweed Bath in Strandhill

Although the climb wasn’t strenuous, I figured I earned a bit of pampering. So when I returned to Strandhill, I peeled out of my dripping wet clothes and slid into a steaming hot bath of seaweed and sea water at Voya Seaweed Baths. The place looks like a modern spa, but the tradition in Sligo goes back well over 100 years when most seaside towns boasted the healing benefits of their bath houses.

My bath began with ten minutes in the private shower/steam room to open my pores, followed by a long soak in the old-fashioned claw-foot bathtub. The sea water in the tub felt slimy at first, and I opted for scooping up the long strands of seaweed and laying them across my chest rather than sitting on the pile of leafy Atlantic greens.

Once I got over the peculiarity of the whole scene, I quickly began to relax. The staff would say that was the treatment’s “detoxifying” characteristics taking affect. I just called it peaceful.

Gotta say, this is one experience I wouldn’t have considered if the women at the Sligo Tourist Office hadn’t talked so highly of it. Plus, I had it in my head that it was one of those things for a “girls day out.” Imagine my surprise when I spotted more men at the bath this afternoon than women. It’s clearly popular with athletes, people with joint and muscle problems, day spa goers and curious tourists like myself.

So there you have it… an Irish seaweed bath. It’s €25, so it’s much less expensive than spa treatments elsewhere, and it’s a very interesting experience indeed. I should also note they have a whole line of spa experiences and skincare products. I’ve got some video I’ll share from the bath, but it’ll take a bit to edit. Also want to thank Neil from Voya for taking the time to chat with me… he also picked up the tab on my bath as well – thanks for that.

Here’s are some pics from Sligo…

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8 Comments

  1. Until you’ve made the climb you really can’t know how intense it is…believer or non there is something magical about it. Oh yeah and when the weather is like you had, a whole new kind of cold and wet LOL. Can’t thank you lot enough for sharing it with those of us stuck stateside…It’s a moment’s gratitude & a delightful pause in a hectic day you’re giving us all. TA!!!

  2. Great report on a little-known experience of the Irish countryside. Now I know why, when I was young and my mother had a bad sinus infection, our doctor told me to go down to the beach and collect a bucket of seaweed. Then he told me to dump the seaweed in a hot bath for my mother. He told her to pop the seaweed “bubbles” in the water and she would feel much better. And she did! Did I mention that our doctor was Tony O’Connor from Co. Mayo, Ireland? It’s good to see that the tradition lives on….. Thanks so much, Corey. Where are you now? All the best,
    Pat

  3. I took a seaweed bath my first trip to Ireland and loved it. :-) It was a cold, rainy, blustery day. My friend and I had been exploring, walking the beaches, getting soaked in the rain, and the bath, after the strangeness of it wore off, was glorious. :-)

  4. I took a seaweed bath my first trip to Ireland and loved it. :-) It was a cold, rainy, blustery day. My friend and I had been exploring, walking the beaches, getting soaked in the rain, and the bath, after the strangeness of it wore off, was glorious. :-)

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