Ashford Castle -Ireland’s Premier Hotel Castle
Ashford Castle in the West of Ireland has had quiet a distinguished history in the 900 years since it was built by the DeBurgo family. The castle has been transformed from a defensive Irish Castle, next a Chateau style building and now in its latest re-incarnation – a Victorian Gothic Castle. At the moment Asford Castle is a hotel, it has been since 1939 when Noel Huggard purchased it. Given its location in the wilds of Connemara, it quickly developed a reputation as one of Europe’s best destinations for fishing and shooting.
Indeed the Prince of Wales, George 5th, a passionate hunter came for three days and ended up staying for 3 months. Other famous hotel Guests at Ashford Castle, include John Wayne and Maureen o’Hara, both of whom stayed there while filming “The Quiet Man” in the nearby village of Cong. Ronald Reagan and Nancy stayed for a night during his visit to Ireland in 1984. The vast grounds and richly decorated interior of the Castle caused the Secret Service agents no end of trouble, as every nook in the castle is filled with antique furniture. All of which had to be examined for Hotel to be deemed safe for the President to visit.
Ashford Castle itself has 83 bedrooms, and numerous halls and drawing rooms in which guests can relax, in many of the drawing rooms open fires are lit, in vast fireplaces, burning turf from the nearby mountain bogs. Giving a rich glow and a special scent to the air. One that is unique nowadays to the west of Ireland. All of the rooms are spacious and individually designed, bathrooms are fitted out to an exceptional standard. They all offer stunning views across the magnificent gardens and waterways, whether that be Lough Corrib or the River Corrib.
Lough Corrib is a vast lake of 41,000 acres and has hundreds of Islands contained within. Many of which feature ancient monastic settlements and are a popular day boat trip from Ashford Castle. The lake is noted for its wild Salmon and Trout fishing, with anglers from all over Ireland coming there. Frank Costelloe, the “Orvis” rated Ghillie, has lived next to Lough Corrib all his life, and knows the best spots on the lake for fishing Salmon, from their runs in February to the high-points in the lake in July.
The hotel provides several eating and entertainment options. The “George v” Restaurant features a Michelin Star Chef and harkens back to a time when dining was more refined, and formal dining experience. For a more casual eating experience there is Cullen’s Cottage, which features a bistro style menu.
The Dungeon bar, is where guests can go at night to unwind, relax and enjoy themselves. It is quiet an experience, as it feature many excellent Irish musicians and artists, singing, dancing and storytelling. Their Irish Coffee’s are fantastic, as is their selection of Irish Whiskey, a real conneseurs haven.
Outside of the Castle itself, Ashford estate has 300 acres of gardens, boasting specimen tree’s from Ireland and from around the world. On the edge of the garndens, there is a beautiful 9 hole 2996 yards par 35 parkland course, that was designed by Eddie Hackett, a renowned Irish golf course designer, who was behind Dooks Golf Course, one of the finest links courses anywhere in the world.
Ashford Castle is Ireland’s most exclusive Castle Hotel and has built up a reputation for luxury over 60 years in operation. I am certain that if yo visit that you will find it just as wonderful as I and many other have.