Adrienne Stewart On Forest Bathing, Picnic Spa Breaks & Yoga With Alpacas At Powerscourt Springs

Adrienne Stewart On Forest Bathing, Picnic Spa Breaks & Yoga With Alpacas At Powerscourt Springs

Ireland’s first Health Farm, Powerscourt Springs is a tranquil getaway set within Enniskerry’s Coolakay, only 30 minutes from Dublin. The adults-only retreat is located at the bottom of The Great Sugarloaf Mountain, surrounded by nature’s beauty including the Powerscourt Waterfall, Powerscourt Gardens, Glendalough and nearby picturesque village. At Powerscourt Springs, guests can indulge in the finest Irish hospitality, backed with its holistic menu comprising unique experiences including forest bathing, spa and picnic excursions, yoga with alpacas (coming soon) and late-night fireside wellness chats. We speak with Adrienne Stewart, the new managing director who took over the property three years ago with her mother and reimagined it as a modern immersive retreat in the heart of Ireland. 

Image courtesy of Adrienne Stewart

Could you tell us about yourself and how you got into the world of wellness? I studied as a journalist and worked in newspaper and radio newsrooms for 10 years before the wellness seed was planted. Being a news reporter is a fast-paced job with hourly deadlines and no off button and you are by its nature ingesting and sharing negative news constantly. At one point while reporting from the Criminal Courts on murder trials I felt that I seriously needed a break and in a serendipitous turn of events, I booked into the old Powerscourt Springs Health Farm for an overnight break. 

My experience was good but I felt at the time the price was prohibitive for people to enjoy a spa experience more than once or twice a year. This put the idea in my mind to create an ‘accessible wellness location’ and the following year in 2008 I left journalism to open Rainforest Spa in Enniskerry—which has now been running for 13 years and is recently the winner of ‘Day Spa of the Year for Ireland 2021’.

See also: Peigín Crowley, Ireland’s Leading Luxury Spa Consultant & Wellness Entrepreneur, On Her New Brand, GROUND

Three years ago we saw a For Sale sign at the gate of Powerscourt Springs which had been closed for a decade with trees growing inside it. Me and my mother Lorraine Sweeney, a hotelier, joined our passions to relaunch Powerscourt Springs Health Farm in 2020.

Image courtesy of Powercourt Springs

Powerscourt Springs is Ireland’s first and only Health Farm. Could you tell us more about what this means and what makes your property unique? Powerscourt Springs was the first spa destination in Ireland and in its heyday under previous ownership, it was the premier location to steal away too. Wellness was a foreign concept in Ireland in the late 80s and 90s and we are lucky that the previous owners paved the way creating a Health Farm model in such a stunning setting—a private 38 acre estate in the Garden of Ireland only 30 minutes from Dublin. 

See also: Pure Results Bootcamp: Boxercise and Balance At Ireland’s Premier Fitness Retreat

Image courtesy of Powercourt Springs

Our property is a dedicated wellness and adult-only location. Unlike many other hotels that have spas, we are not a mixed-use location. Everything that we do is focused on wellness and we do not cater for any other events such as weddings or corporate events. This keeps our atmosphere extremely calm. Guests therefore feel comfortable to roam in their robes for the entirety of their stay if they wish. At our Health Farm we offer:

  • A purpose-built Wellness Studio
  • Guided Mediation and Yoga Classes for all guests
  • Spa treatments and Spa Lounge
  • Sound Bath Healing
  • Nourishing food at our Graze Restaurant
  • Life & Nutrition Coaching
  • Forest Bathing in our private woodlands
  • River Meadow Walk
  • Heated Pool 
  • One million bees
  • Alpacas that can be taken for walks (arriving August)
  • Picnic on the estate
  • Fire Pit 

What was the incentive behind opening this retreat? The incentive behind opening Powercourt Springs was to make wellness accessible to the masses and be the ‘first touch point’ to open the door to this wonderful world of wellness for our guests. All of our team shares our knowledge in an easy to digest way so that we not only share our expertise on site, but we give enough that our client feels empowered to continue their wellness journey at home. 

What does a typical retreat at Powerscourt Springs look like?

  • Guest check-in 3pm and Meet and Greet with our Retreat Host
  • Leisure time: Spa treatments / heated pool / forest bathing / river meadow walk / picnic on the farm / sound bath healing 
  • Yoga / guided meditation class
  • Pre-dinner cocktail 
  • Nourishing evening meal
  • Post-dinner drink at the Fire Pit or Cocktail Lounge
  • Overnight stay
  • Morning swim / run / walk
  • Healthy breakfast
  • Yoga / guided meditation class

How does Powerscourt Springs integrate nature in its offerings? Everything about our location is about bringing nature’s senses to our guests. We encourage our guests to get out onto our 38 acres as much as possible during their stay with our River Meadow Walk or Run and Forest Bathing in our private woodland. We grow our own herbs that are used in our signature spa treatments and cocktails. We grow our own vegetables; the fruit in our apple and plum orchard and we have one million bees on site producing our honey. During the lockdown, our team used their time to forage wood and interior decorations from the land to create unique art pieces for our walls. 

See also: How The Happy Pear Began Ireland’s Health Food Revolution

Image courtesy of Powercourt Springs

Your property will soon be housing alpacas—so cute! Can you tell us a little bit more about this? Alpacas when trained for human handing are wonderful therapeutic animals that love to be smothered in your attention. We are bringing three male alpacas to live at the farm in August. Guests can help feed our boys, bring them for walks and we will even host our outdoor yoga classes with them roaming around us. They are curious creatures and love to get involved.

What topics do you discuss with the evening fireside chats? Our Fire Pit chats are an opportunity for guests to get to know each other and mix if they wish over an evening drink at dusk. Our guests are a mixture of solo travellers, groups of families and friends and couples, who are all of a like-minded mentality which creates a wonderfully warm and friendly atmosphere. We have carried out Sound Rituals at night to mark special occasions such as the Winter Solstice, which are always a magical experience. 

See also: The Best Healthy Restaurants In London

Can you tell us about the wellness offerings at Powerscourt Springs? We offer everything from spa treatments to yoga and guided meditation to sound healing and forest bathing. Our spa treatments range from massage to reflexology and Reiki to our signature treatments such as The Springs Sensory Full Body Experience using herbs from our garden and The Coconut Cocoon. We also offer life coaching and nutrition coaching and will soon offer Healing in the Woods.

How do you reboot after a hectic week? Personally, I do try to practice what we preach and I reboot after a busy week with re-energising activities like ‘Wild Yoga’. This is basically taking my yoga mat to any spot in Dublin that I fancy practicing in. I also enjoy going for a run, sea swimming and spending simple down time with my two sons. A glass of wine always creeps its way in there somewhere too just for balance. 

Image courtesy of Adrienne Stewart

What retreats do you recommend at Powerscourt Springs to recover from the stress of COVID? All of our retreats are wellness focused but the theme we have is reconnecting with your loved ones after time apart and reconnecting with yourself after a stressful time for all. All of our offerings can be found at Powerscourt Springs and one of my favourites is the Couples Spa Break which starts with a romantic picnic on the farm.

THE COUPLES SPA BREAK // Picnic on the Farm with Bubbly | Spa Treatments| Yoga / Meditation Class | Leisure Amenities| Two-course Dinner | Bed | Breakfast (Price: Sun-Thurs 190PPS // Fri, Sat 205PPS)

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Faye Bradley

Faye Bradley is the editor and business development manager at Compare Retreats. She is an avid writer, editor, illustrator and yogi who is passionate about all things wellness, travel and the arts.

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