Five Irish spa retreats

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All wound up by the festive season? Soothe your cares away in these rural sanctuaries.

Temple Country retreat, Westmeath

There is a holistic approach to wellbeing at the 23-room Temple Country Retreat. Not just somewhere to indulge, here the treatments and activities focus on the real reasons for those knots in your shoulders. There is life-coaching, yoga, Pilates and nutritional advice on offer, as well as guided relaxation and outdoor activities. The restaurant caters for a host of food allergies.

Temple Country Retreat & Spa, Horseleap, Moate, Co Westmeath (00 353 57 933 5118; templespa.ie). Doubles start at €127, including breakfast.

Inchydoney Island lodge, Cork

Long before the rest of Ireland's hoteliers woke up to the lure of the destination spa, Inchydoney was harvesting seawater for use in its own Thalassotherapy treatments. The lodge is on an island, linked by a bridge to the mainland. The spa also offers Elemis treatments and there is a doctor on hand to offer expert advice about any medical complaints.

Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, Clonakilty, Co Cork (00 353 23 33143; inchydoneyisland.com). Doubles start at €200, including breakfast.

Radisson SAS Farnham Estate hotel, Cavan

The setting of the Radission SAS Farnham couldn't be more bucolic: a sprawling 16th-century country estate in the lush surrounds of Ireland's "Lake Country". The pale stone manor's state-of-the-art spa boasts a thermal suite, indoor and outdoor thermal pools and 19 treatment rooms for pampering massages and facials. The stylish rooms are a treat and there's a striking Pink Room with retro-chic wallpaper and furnishings.

Radisson SAS Farnham Estate Hotel, Farnham Estate, Cavan, Co Cavan (00 353 49 437 7700; farnhamestate.ie). Doubles start at €130, including breakfast.

Monart, Co Wexford

There's an elemental feel to the spa at Monart. Wood, glass and water have been used to spectacular effect at this temple of relaxation, which is surrounded by the rolling green fields of Co Wexford. But Monart's contemporary decor belies its historic origins - the handsome cut-stone Georgian mansion was once home of Nathanial Cookman, financier to King George I. The spa uses chemical-free Pevonia products, and tranquillity almost guaranteed: the whole resort is an under-18 free zone.

Monart, The Still, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford (00 353 52 923 8999; monart.ie). Doubles start at €273, including breakfast.

Park Hotel Kenmare, Co Kerry

The first of Ireland's new generation of spas, Samas at the Park Hotel Kenmare is still one of the best. The pared-back, ultra modern lines of this glass and limestone refuge are in stark contrast to the antique-scattered charm of the family-owned Victorian hotel. Relaxation has been elevated into an art form: guests are encouraged to engage in an array of treatments as well activities such as tai chi, yoga and Pilates. And if the lure of the scenery is too strong, there is a programme of outdoors activities including the obligatory ramble along a stretch of the Kerry Way.

Samas, Park Hotel Kenmare, Kenmare, Co Kerry (00 353 64 664 1200; parkkenmare.com). Doubles start at €382, including breakfast.

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