Ashford Castle is a medieval castle which has been expanded over the centuries and turned into a luxury 5* hotel near the village of Cong on the Mayo-Galway border.
The castle was founded by the De Burgo (Burke) family, an Anglo-Norman clan in 1228. After more than three-and-a-half centuries under the rule of the de Burgos family, Ashford Castle fell to Sir Richard Bingham, an English official and Lord President of Connaught, in 1589, following fierce battles between the forces of the de Burgos and Bingham. Bingham then quickly added a fortified enclave to the castle.
In the 1670’s, the estate was royally granted to Dominick Browne of the Browne Family. The estate became established under the Browne family for many centuries and a hunting lodge in the style of a 17th-century French chateau was constructed.
In 1852 the estate was purchased by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness from the Encumbered Estates’ Court. He soon added two large Victorian style extensions and extended the estate to 26,000 acres, planting thousands of trees and laying road as he went. In 1868, the estate passed to Sir Benjamin’s son, Lord Ardilaun, who expanded the building further in the neogothic style.
The Castle then passed to Ardilaun’s nephew Ernest Guinness and was later sold in 1939 to Noel Huggard. Noel Huggard opened the estate as a hotel. In 1951, the estate, became part of the backdrop of the John Ford directed film, ‘The Quiet Man‘.
In 1970, the castle was bought by John Mulcahy, who oversaw its complete restoration and expanded the castle by doubling its size with the addition of a new wing in the early 1970’s. The castle passed hands twice more before being sold in 2013 to the Red Carnation Hotels group.
During it’s existence, the castle has played host to many notable guests to include; King George V & Queen Mary, John Lennon, George Harrison, Oscar Wilde, US President Ronald Reagan, Prince Edward, US Senator Ted Kennedy, John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Robin Williams, Brad Pitt, Pierce Brosnan and professional golfer Rory McIlroy who married Erica Stoll there in 2017.
Today, Ashford Castle offers 83 rooms and suites, each with its own character and charm. You can choose from elegant rooms with antique furniture and original features, spacious suites with stunning views of the lake or gardens, or even a hideaway cottage for a more private and romantic stay. All rooms and suites are equipped with complimentary Wi-Fi, interactive TV with movies on demand, Nespresso machine, personalised stationery, turndown service and more.
As a guest of Ashford Castle, you will have access to a variety of dining options that cater to every taste and occasion. You can enjoy fine dining at the George V Dining Room, where you can savour exquisite dishes made with local ingredients and paired with wines from the extensive cellar. You can also try casual dining at Cullen’s at the Cottage, a traditional thatched cottage that serves Irish classics with a twist. For a more relaxed atmosphere, you can visit The Dungeon, a cosy bistro that offers hearty fare in a historic setting. Or you can indulge in afternoon tea at The Connaught Room, where you can sample delicious pastries and cakes in an elegant lounge overlooking the lake.
If you are looking for some relaxation and pampering, you can visit The Spa at Ashford Castle, where you can enjoy a range of treatments using products from Elemis and Red Carnation Hotels’ own B|Africa range. You can also unwind in the relaxation pool, steam room, sauna or terrace Jacuzzi. Or you can head to the Beauty Rooms, where you can get a manicure, pedicure, hair styling or makeup application.
If you are feeling more adventurous, you can explore the estate and its surroundings by taking part in one of the many activities available at Ashford Castle. You can try falconry, horse riding, fishing, golfing, clay shooting, archery or cycling. You can also take a boat trip on Lough Corrib, where you can admire the scenery and wildlife of the lake. Or you can visit some of the nearby attractions, such as Cong Abbey, Kylemore Abbey or Connemara National Park.
Ashford Castle is more than just a hotel; it is an experience that will make you feel like royalty. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, a family holiday or a special event, Ashford Castle will exceed your expectations and create unforgettable memories.
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