The effect of nature and the outdoors on wellbeing is front and centre at the new spa at the Ice House Hotel in Ballina, Co Mayo. It will have four new two-person outside baths for shared bathing rituals when the spa reopens in early July. A relaxation room stands on stilts over the River Moy with 360 degree glazing for views into Belleek Woods. An outdoor pod with floor-to- ceiling views of the river estuary is where the new treatments on massage beds covered with quartz sand will be conducted.
Niall Kerins, general manager, said: “Following a significant investment at the hotel, we are in the process of adding a new wellness focused extension which adds over 250 sq metres of additional space.”
Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, Co Waterford, is trebling its number of outdoor baths. This summer their ‘Well by The Sea Spa’ will introduce a new menu of treatments that can be taken by guests outdoors. The ‘listen to the birds sing’ approach will mean guests can request a hot towel scalp ritual outdoors. The ‘Peat for the Feet’ grounding treatment uses organic peat sourced from ancient bogs in Co Laois. The third treatment, ‘The Sea Escape’, involves soaking your feet in warm seaweed harvested from the south coast while your therapist eases away the tension in your arms, shoulders, neck and scalp. Meditation was another popular tool for dealing with stress during lockdown and the hotel recently added a Movement Room for yoga, pilates, barre and meditation, designed with floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Ardmore Bay.
The famed Thermal Spa Village, the first of its kind in Ireland, is the jewel in the crown of Galgorm. Inspired by the understated beauty of the landscape, natural wood and a palette of hues inspired by nature piece together in harmony to deliver a feeling of restfulness and calm. Manicured gardens reveal meandering paths that lead you on your journey of rediscovery.
With Halloween just around the corner, we thought we would do a small list of the best haunted castles to visit in Ireland. We all like a bit of a spook in our life from time to time and some of us like a spook a bit more than time to time, so much so that we might seek out a haunted location to investigate. Ireland is home to many a paranormal element. Some places are so well known that they provide guided tours, others are less well known. Below we have a list of some of the best haunted castles for you to visit.
Leap Castle, located in County Offaly (just under a two hour drive from Dublin). Leap Castle is said to be one of the most haunted castles in Europe. Originally the site was used by Druids for initiation ceremonies and then in the early 1500s, the first castle structor was built for the O’Carroll Clann. There was huge rivalry between two O’Carroll brothers. One of the brothers was a priest and was holding a small family mass ceremony in the chapel, mid mass the other O’Carroll brother charged in and murdered the priest by stabbing him with a sword. That was the start of the paranormal activity, the chapel is now aptly named – ‘The Bloody Chapel’. Over the next few centuries, the castle was home to more bloodshed and violence. In 1922 three cartloads of skeleton remains where found in the Oubliette. With a dark and bloody past and over 9 regular spirits seen on various occasions by different people Leap Castle isn’t for the faint hearted. Sean Ryan, the current owner takes regular bookings for private guided tours around the castle, showing the different rooms, telling the history of the castle and talking about all the different spirits. For more information and to book a tour email Sean Ryan – seanfryan@outlook.
Malahide Castle in north Dublin was built in 1185, by King Henry II of England and was gifted to the kings friend, Richard Talbot. The Castle is home to Puck, a professional joker or a ‘fool’ from medieval times. Puck was found stabbed in the courtyard of the castle, on a snowy Christmas morning. The tales behind Puck say that he was a jester for the castle, who, when not entertaining would keep lookout for any dangerous threats approaching the castle, he was said to have fallen in love Lady Elenora Fitzgerald who was being held has a prisoner within the castle. His spirit has been scene by many of the Talbot family members over the years. The castle was sold to the Irish family by Rose Talbot in 1975. Puck’s ghost has been seen by many of the visitors touring the castle. Malahide castle is home to four other spirits too, although they may not be as well known like Puck. Two short stories of the other spirits in the castle include the gruesome punishment of Miles Cobert, who was hanged, drawn, then quartered for treason and Walter Hussey, who was murdered the morning of his wedding (his bride-to-be later fell involve with his murderer). Malahide Castle is a beautiful castle to visit in Ireland and its conveniently located close to Dublin, you can explore the grounds or take guided tours of the castle, for more information click into – Malahide Castle
Ballygally Castle in County Antrim is home to Lady Isabella Shaw, whom is said to have been a permanent guest of the castle for about 400 years. There are two different stories behind her death, both of which castle blame on her husband after she gave birth to his son. One says after the birth of their son, Lord James Shaw locked his wife Isabella into a room at the top of the castle and upon trying to escape to find her son, she fell to her death. Another story says that Lord Shaw himself killed her or that he had her killed. Lady Isabella is said to be a friendly spirit who roams the castle. People can feel her presence or feel they have a moment that they cannot explain. You can stay over in Ballygally Castle (Lady Isabella Shaws ghost is said to roam the older parts of the castle) and you can also arrange a ghost tour by a member of staff, click here – Ballygally Castle Ghost Tour.
Said to be haunted by Red Mary (or Máire Rua) the ruined site of Leamaneh Castle is said to be one of the most haunted castles in all of Ireland. Located just on the outskirts of The Burren national park, between Carran and Kilfenora. The history behind Red Mary is that she married Conor O’Brien and moved into his castle, carrying the wealth from her first marriage through to her marriage with Conor, Mary was able to build extensions to the castle, soon turning it into one of the grandest in the country at the time (1630s). Red Mary was known for her red hair that match her fiery ways and foul temper. It is said that if a servant couldn’t do exactly what was asked of them or displeased her in anyway they were sent to death, if male they were thrown out a castle window and hung by the neck and if female they were also thrown out from a castle window, but hung from their hair, she was even known for punishing maids by cutting off their breasts. After a battle which severely injured her husband Conor, when he was brought back to the castle gates, Red Mary is said to have shown no sympathy and closed the gates to him and his men and shouted to them “What do I want with dead men here?”. She then changed her mind and nursed him until he died. Later, having married again (for a third time) her husband Captain John Cooper felt her wrath, when he said something unfavourable about Red Marys second husband, Conor O’Brein, Mary jumped out of the bed and kicked him in the stomach, killing him. Obviously in her life mary made many enemies and this caught up with her, after the death of her last husband, Mary was captured and tied to a tree, left to starve and die. The location of Marys grave is unknown, but her she has been seen walking the halls of Leamaneh Castle and also in a druids alter near the castle. For more information on the history of the castle and on Red Mary click here – Red Mary at Leamaneh Castle. (The castle ruins are visible from the road, but not accessible.)
If you ever go to any other locations in Ireland that you sense a paranormal spirit, or even see one, we would love o hear about it. You can comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ireland is home to many a scenic backdrop from the very famous HBO series – Game of Thrones. Apart from filming taking place is studios in Belfast, locations scouts where sent out to find the best on site locations for some scenes, luckily they didn’t have to go too far as many famous scenes and castle were filmed within an hour or two from the studios in Northern Ireland. Below is a video and a list with links to some of the most famous sites.
Best Game of Thrones Locations In Ireland
Castle Ward – Winterfell
The outdoor scenes for Winterfell around the castle or in the courtyard are filmed at Castle Ward in County Down. For full info click into – Castle Ward
Ballintoy Harbour – Pyke Harbour, The Iron Islands
Any harbour or shallow water Iron Island scenes were filmed at Ballintoy Harbour (or just across from it). For more information on Ballintoy Harbour click here – Ballintoy Harbour
The cave scenes between Melisandre and Davos Seaworth took place in Cushendun Caves in County Antrim and we think the final scenes between Jamie Lannister and Euron Greyjoy in season 8 took place here too. For more info on the Cushendun Caves click here –Cushendun Caves.
Tollymore Forest – Winterfell Forest
The Stark forest scenes or (most) forest scenes are filmed in Tollymore forest, county Down. One of the main scenes you may remember that have been filmed here are when the Stark Family come across the dire pups. for more information on Tollymore Forest click here – Tollymore Forest.
The Dark Hedges – The Kings Road
The Dark Hedges have become famous within Ireland because of Game of Thrones, did you know that the Dark Hedges were formed in about 1775, by the Stuart Family who had 150 Beech Trees planted to line their driveway. If you would like to know more about the Dark Hedges click here – The Dark Hedges.
Larrybane Quarry – Renly Baratheon Campbase
Larrybane Quarry is used as the backdrop of Renley Baratheon’s camp base in season 2. It is beside Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (which is the next attraction). For more information click into – Larrybane Quarry.
Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge – Iron Islands
Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge is seen where Lord Greyjoy and Euron Greyjoy fight, well spoiler alert, it’s more so when Euron throws his brother off the rope bridge and down to his death. For more information on Carrick-a-rede rope Bridge click into – Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge.
If you would like to do a self drive tour of the Game of Thrones locations in Ireland click into – Game of Thrones Self Drive RoutesIf you would like to do a bus tour we recommend Mc Combs Coach Tours (which we done ourselves on a non sponsored or paid trip) or Game Of Thrones Bus Tours
If you are planning to do a tour either via bus or self drive, we recommend you bring