THE VOYA STORY
We can learn a lot from our forefathers but sometimes we have to go full circle to discover hidden gems in our history and traditions – which are very often just on our very own doorstep. This is what happened to Neil Walton from County Sligo, Ireland.
Neil had been passionate about sport from an early age – a passion triggered when Neil’s father Mick introduced him to long distance running at the age of 11. Neil went on to become a professional junior triathlete and it was when he was studying sport and competing in Australia he heard about the recuperative properties of natural seaweed baths, from his fellow professional athletes.
Testing the seaweed therapy himself, Neil was amazed by its effects. He noted the baths ability to remove toxins from his body and accelerate the healing process. This prompted Neil to investigate the tradition of this therapy in Ireland and in his very own village of Strandhill, in County Sligo Ireland.
The therapeutic properties of wild seaweed have long been known along the Irish coast. At the beginning of the 20th century there were an estimated 300 seaweed bath houses in Ireland and nine in the small town of Strandhill alone.
The last of the original Strandhill bath houses, its foundation still visible on the coast, was destroyed by Hurricane Debbie, the worst hurricane to hit Ireland in 1961. As a tradition, it had seen a significant decline due to population shift away from the Atlantic Coast, and the rise in non-Organic treatments.
Here was the challenge, to revive the Irish tradition of Seaweed Baths in his home town of Strandhill – a challenge which was achieved by Neil and his Family in 1996. The VOYA Seaweed Baths in now one of only a few in the country.
Since reopening, the VOYA Seaweed baths in Strandhill have been enticing customers from all over the world. Attracting 40,000 visitors every year to the beautiful surroundings of Strandhill, they have become one of Sligo’s most popular landmarks.
In 2006, Neil’s brother Mark and his wife Kira created the award-winning VOYA range of products and therapies. Their knowledge of seaweeds and algae has been crucial to the development of the world’s first range of seaweed-based organic cosmetics, and are enjoyed here within the Seaweed Baths. Find out more about these products at www.voya.ie.