Ashford Castle walls, and the grounds in County Mayo, Ireland

Nestled in the heart of Ireland, Ashford Castle beckons travelers to experience the epitome of luxury and serenity. This enchanting retreat boasts a storied past, dating back to the 13th century when it served as a medieval fortress. Today, it stands as a world-renowned five-star hotel, exuding elegance and offering impeccable service.

Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a destination for a special celebration, Ashford Castle enchants guests with its timeless beauty and lavish amenities. From the moment you step through the castle’s grand entrance, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of opulence and sophistication.

The castle’s 83 luxurious rooms and suites are meticulously appointed, combining traditional elegance with modern comforts. Each room overlooks the stunning landscapes of County Mayo, providing a picturesque backdrop for an unforgettable stay.

With an array of on-site activities, including falconry, fishing, horseback riding, and golf, Ashford Castle provides endless entertainment for adventurers of all ages. Additionally, its award-winning restaurants and renowned spa ensure that every aspect of your stay is nothing short of extraordinary.

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During my first evening at the castle, the white hydrangea blooms beckoned me to explore the outer walls, where endless stories rich in history whisper into the soul.

Ashford Castle wall and tower, County Mayo, Ireland

History of Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle holds a rich and captivating history that dates back centuries. Originally built in 1228 by the de Burgo family, it served as a stronghold during times of conflict and political unrest. Throughout the years, the castle passed through the hands of various noble families, each leaving their mark on its architecture and legacy.

Ashford Castle a view from the grounds

1228 – De Burgo Family

Ashford Castle was founded by the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family following their defeat of the native O’Connors of Connaught. The de Burgos built several such castles throughout the region, but Ashford castle in Ireland remained the principal stronghold.

1589 – Sir Richard Bingham

After more than three and a half centuries under the de Burgos, Ashford passed to Sir Richard Bingham, Lord President of Connaught, following an intense battle against the forces of the de Burgos. A fortified enclave was added within its territories.

1715 – The Browne Family

The famous Ashford Estate was established by the Browne family and a wonderful French style château was added to the architectural splendour of the castle. The double-headed eagles, still visible on the roof, represent the coat of arms of the Brownes.

1852 – Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness

Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness purchased Ashford castle, extended the estate to 26,000 acres, and built new roads, planting thousands of trees and added two large Victorian-style extensions.

1868 – Lord Ardilaun Guinness

Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness bequeathed Ashford to his son, Lord Ardilaun, who was an avid gardener who oversaw the development of vast woodlands and rebuilt the whole west wing of the castle.

Into A First Class Hotel

In the 19th century, the Guinness family acquired the castle, transforming it into a lavish residence. It was during this time that Ashford Castle became renowned for its opulence and grandeur. Countless notable guests, including Oscar Wilde and John Wayne, have graced its halls, adding to its allure and mystique.

Ashford was conserved by the Iveagh Trust on behalf of the Guinness family until it was bought by Noel Huggard in 1939. Huggard established the castle as a first-class hotel renowned for the provision of its country pursuits.

Lough Corrib, a lake in the west of Ireland

Location and surroundings of Ashford Castle

Situated in County Mayo, Ashford Castle is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. The castle is nestled on the shores of Lough Corrib, Ireland’s second-largest lake, connecting to the Corrib River that eventually connects to the sea of Galway. This offers stunning views and a tranquil atmosphere.

The sprawling estate spans 350 acres, encompassing lush gardens, woodlands, and manicured lawns.

Beyond the castle grounds, the charming village of Cong awaits exploration. Known for its picturesque streets and historic buildings, it was also the filming location for the iconic movie “The Quiet Man.” The surrounding countryside offers opportunities for scenic walks, hiking, and fishing, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of Ireland’s landscape.

Grand entrance to Ashford Castle, County Mayo, Ireland

Accommodation options at Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle boasts 83 luxurious rooms and suites, each designed to provide the utmost comfort and elegance. From classic rooms to opulent suites, every accommodation option exudes a sense of timeless charm combined with modern amenities.

The rooms at Ashford Castle are carefully appointed with antique furnishings, plush bedding, and stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. Whether you choose a room overlooking the lake or one with a view of the castle gardens, each offers a serene retreat for a restful night’s sleep.

For those seeking an even more indulgent experience, the castle’s suites provide an unparalleled level of luxury. Featuring spacious living areas, private balconies, and exquisite decor, these suites offer a truly lavish retreat.

Dining experiences at Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle is home to several award-winning restaurants, each offering a unique culinary experience. From fine dining to casual fare, the castle’s dining options cater to a variety of tastes and preferences.

The George V Dining Room is the jewel in the castle’s culinary crown. With its elegant ambiance and panoramic views of Lough Corrib, it provides the perfect setting for a memorable dining experience. The menu showcases the finest Irish ingredients, expertly prepared and presented with flair.

For a more informal dining experience, Cullen’s at the Cottage offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Set in a charming thatched cottage, this restaurant serves up traditional Irish dishes with a modern twist. Guests can enjoy hearty pub fare and locally sourced ingredients while soaking in the rustic charm of the surroundings.

Activities and amenities at Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle offers a wide range of activities and amenities to ensure that every guest’s stay is filled with adventure and relaxation. The castle’s extensive grounds provide ample opportunities for outdoor pursuits, such as falconry, archery, and clay pigeon shooting. Guests can also explore the estate on horseback, taking in the beauty of the surrounding countryside.

Golf enthusiasts will be delighted by the castle’s 9-hole golf course, which offers stunning views and a challenging game. Anglers can try their hand at fishing on Lough Corrib, known for its abundance of salmon and trout.

For those seeking a more leisurely experience, the castle’s luxurious spa provides a haven of tranquility. With a range of treatments and therapies, guests can indulge in pampering and relaxation, ensuring a truly rejuvenating stay.

Spa and wellness options at Ashford Castle

The spa at Ashford Castle offers a sanctuary of serenity, where guests can escape the stresses of everyday life and indulge in ultimate relaxation. The spa’s expert therapists provide a range of treatments, from massages and facials to body wraps and holistic therapies.

The spa facilities include an indoor pool, a steam room, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Guests can also take advantage of the castle’s beautiful gardens and lakeside walks, providing a serene backdrop for rejuvenation and mindfulness.

Events and weddings at Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle is a sought-after destination for weddings, offering a backdrop of timeless elegance and romance. The castle’s stunning grounds and luxurious interiors provide the perfect setting for a fairytale wedding. The dedicated events team at Ashford Castle ensures that every detail is taken care of, creating a truly memorable and seamless experience for couples and their guests.

In addition to weddings, Ashford Castle is also a popular venue for corporate events and special celebrations. With a range of flexible spaces and state-of-the-art facilities, the castle can accommodate conferences, team-building activities, and private gatherings of all sizes.

Winding trees and tunnels at Ashford Castle

How to plan your visit to Ashford Castle

Planning a visit to Ashford Castle is a seamless process, thanks to the castle’s dedicated concierge team. From arranging airport transfers to organizing activities and excursions, the concierge team ensures that every aspect of your stay is tailored to your preferences.

To make the most of your visit, it is advisable to book well in advance, especially during peak seasons. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a special celebration, the team at Ashford Castle will work closely with you to create an unforgettable experience.

Conclusion: Why Ashford Castle is the ultimate luxury retreat in Ireland

Ashford Castle offers a truly enchanting retreat that seamlessly combines Ireland’s rich history with unparalleled luxury. From its storied past as a medieval fortress to its current incarnation as a world-renowned hotel, the castle exudes elegance and charm at every turn.

Whether you’re seeking a romantic escape, a family adventure, or a destination for a special occasion, Ashford Castle caters to all. Its luxurious accommodations, exquisite dining options, and array of activities ensure that every guest’s stay is nothing short of extraordinary.

Immerse yourself in the timeless allure of Ashford Castle, where luxury and serenity await. From the moment you step through its grand entrance, you’ll be captivated by its beauty and charm, longing to return again and again.

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  1. Siobhain O'Donnell says:

    Love pictures of Ashford Castle. Know it well, where my mother came from and family still work there.

    Lake District one of favourite places. Sometimes best pictures taken near home !

    1. Christy Milliken says:

      It is a lovely place!! I could of stayed longer. What a beautiful place to live!

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