Babbie De Derian, travel, food & spa editor


Travel Beyond Expectations Home


Grounds of the Powerscourt Estate

An invite, from the Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt and Sceptre Tours, to experience the first 100% authentic Irish Og Peat Ritual sends me on an unforgettable odyssey. From the moment I enter the gates I am transported back to the days when land barons ruled their fiefdoms.

Nestled within the awe-inspiring County Wicklow Mountain range and looking out on Sugar Loaf Mountain peak, the hotel’s 30,000 square foot ESPA and Wellness Center, has an impressive menu of treatments: from Chinese acupuncture to Indian Ayurvedics-influenced holistic therapies, Balinese infused massages, a Chi studio for yoga and a wide array of state of the art thermal suites. Their unique signature treatments, include: the Garden of Inspiration Body Ritual and the Garden of Inspiration Botanical Facial Ritual

I arrive two hours before my treatment. After changing into a robe, I enter the hammam; the steam opens my pores and I feel the stress of my travels slipping away.

Outside the hammam, I douse myself with buckets of icy water, and then wander in and out of crystal steam rooms, tepidariums, oversized rainfall showers, saunas and vitality pools. I swim laps in the Swarovski crystals–lit pool, and doze in a curved heated chair in the Serenity Room.


Looking out from the Serenity Room


Thermal Suite



Natural peat has been used in skin care for generations. The rejuvenating benefits come from the abundance of essential oils, fatty acids and lipoids in peat. They penetrate the skin, re-establishing the natural pH balance and stimulating blood flow. Healing properties in the moor peat replace harmful positive ions in the skin tissues. These soluble natural active ingredients are suitable and beneficial for even the most sensitive skin.

I am told this ultimate Warming Peat Body Wrap, made with 100% Og Ireland Peat, is the ultimate way to hydrate and condition winter skin, and even though winter has yet to set in, my sun dried skin can use the therapeutic benefits. The peat, rich in water, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc and copper skin healing properties is also good for acne. I learn that peat improves the skin’s elasticity and is an ideal anti-aging retardant. The peat helps to increase blood and lymph circulation thus helping to reduce cellulite plus anti-inflammatory properties that are excellent in treating arthritis.

My Signature Peat Treatment begins with a salt and oil scrub. Glenda uses a mix of grapefruit, lemon, peppermint and menthol to detoxify, relax and invigorate my body.  As the muscle warming oils penetrate my skin, preparing it for the peat application, I feel my body responding with gratitude.

My body scrub exfoliates dead cells and prepares my body for the peat.


The peat is ready to apply



I shower and stretch out on the therapy table; Glenda a senior therapist who helped develop the three step ritual, warms the peat and then gently applies it to the front and back of my body and on my face. She wraps me in a heated cocoon. While the peat is working its therapeutic magic, Glenda gently manipulates my head and kneads my scalp. When the peat is ready to be removed, I stand under a warm shower, and with the help of a terry wash matt, scrub off the dry peat. The final treat is a deep tissue massage with a mix of wheat germ oil and vitamin E which she tells me: “makes it easier for stretching” . . . West Indian bay and cinnamon for detoxifying . . . juniper berry, cypress grapefruit oils and eucalyptus for toning . . . and grapefruit, lemon, peppermint and menthol for invigorating.



Glenda applies peat to my back



Peat working its magic as I doze

Spa Tip: Finely grate a potato, place in gauze and place under eyes and on face; it will reduce puffiness and brighten a sallow completion.

THE ESPA staff has been well trained in the art of pampering and pleasing. My day of imperial indulgence leaves me looking and feeling 10 years younger.

For more information: