Health and wellness or conspicuous consumption?
The spa in Celtic Tiger Ireland
in Spacing Ireland
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This chapter begins with a short discussion of the history and development of the modern spa with a focus on Ireland and how that history in part reflects wider narratives of boom and bust. It describes the micro-geographies of spa sites alongside wider discussions on classification and regulation to show how wellness and tourism geographies overlap in such spaces. The chapter looks at the modern spa through the lens of therapeutic landscapes and critically discusses the different practices identifiable at the sites, both of health/wellness but also of conspicuous consumption. In looking at the rise and uncertain future of the modern Irish spa, one could consider it a revealing representation of the excesses that characterised the Celtic Tiger era. The chapter concludes by showing how applying a critical therapeutic landscapes approach can enable us to see spas as sites where complex and contested social relations are acting out in place.

Spacing Ireland

Place, society and culture in a post-boom era

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