Ashford Castle Estate
How to get there:
In Galway take Castlebar/Headford Road N84. Continue on through Headford and on to the village of Cross. In Cross turn left at the Church for Cong. As you drive into Cong the Castle is on your left.
The former country home of the Guinness family, Ashford Castle is on 350 acres of the most fantastic grounds, walks, and lakes and is incredibly romantic and evocative. It was founded in the 13th century and through the centuries has had various additions, the most significant being a French Chateau section in 1715 and two Victorian extensions in 1852. More recently however, Ashford Castle has become part of the Red Carnation Hotel Group, owned by the Tollman family, who have literally spent millions on a two-year programme of totally restoring the castle from the inside out, which has been wonderful to see, turning it once again into one of the top destinations in the world. Mrs Bea Tollman's exquisite taste is reflected throughout with details such silk-lined walls in the bedrooms, and her interest in food adding a new dimension in various aspects.
The guest book at Ashford down the years reads like a roll call of the world’s most famous people – Princess Grace, Tony Blair, John Ford, John Wayne, Bob Hope, Rod Stewart, Ronald Reagan, Fred Astaire, George V of England…have all graced Ashford Castle…and Pierce Brosnan and his wife Keely chose it for their wedding reception some years ago.. However, you don’t have to have your name in lights or be mega rich to enjoy Ashford Castle for they also do wonderful special breaks at certain times of the year. There is so much to do within the estate – a 9 hole golf course, fishing, clay pigeon shooting, horseriding, cinema, health spa and beauty centre and the school of falconry is an incredible experience, not to be missed. There is also now an amazing wine cellar created from the 16thC passageways through which the castle staff came into work in the old days. Walks through the woods with these birds will bring you straight back to Lancelot and Guinevere. This too is “Quiet Man” country and “Squire Danagher’s” house is on the estate.
The magnificent oak panelled halls lead to a central drawingroom, the social hub of the castle. On arrival treat yourself to the most amazing afternoon tea served in the Connaught Room, considered the finest room, with its fairytale inglenook fireplace and glorious ceiling holding the most exquisite chandelier. If you want a special treat, an experience you will remember, this is it. Dinner in the King George V room is prepared by the superb French chef, Phillippe Farineau, and is always an amazing experience. Think maybe of Kilkenny fillet of rose veal with Gubbeen chorizo, or wild hake with crab ravioli. Leave room for magnificent desserts by pastry chef Paula Stakelum who never fails to dazzle.
More casual food is served in the Drawing Room and in their “Cullens at the Cottage which does delicious bistro food very reasonably priced. The staff are fantastic, really special, and do everything possible to make your stay perfect and memorable.
Ashford is a special experience.