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Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle
What trip to Ireland is complete without a stay in a castle hotel? Ashford fulfills even the wildest castle fantasies with its crenellated towers, medieval-looking canopy beds, and esteemed falconry program that lets guests explore its 350 woodland acres with birds of prey on their arms. An hour north of Galway on the Cong River with views of Lough Corrib, Ireland’s second-largest lake, Ashford Castle is so straight-from-a-fairytale that it’s a favorite wedding locale: Pierce Brosnan, for one, so loved the castle’s lake views and wood-paneled drawing rooms that he held his wedding reception here in 2001. (Other celebrity guests range from Oscar Wilde to Brad Pitt to Princess Grace of Monaco.)

First built by Anglo Normans in the 13th century, the castle’s current look owes mostly to the Guinness family, who overhauled the site in the 1800s. It’s been a hotel since the 1930s and is currently undergoing renovations including updates to the nine-hole golf course.
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Ashford Castle Is the Versailles of Ireland—and You Can Stay There
The former home of the Guinness family is as grand as ever, after 15 months of upgrades. Set in a 13th-century castle—one of the oldest in Ireland—the hotel began welcoming guests again in March. The 82 rooms were meticulously updated with Connemara marble and drapes from the fabric makers for Versailles. And in one of the public spaces, a mid-19th-century Jacobean revival carved oak fireplace was carefully preserved. On the estate’s 350 acres you can ride horses, play golf, fly-fish, shoot clays, or learn to fly a hawk at the hotel’s falconry school, then relax in the new billiards room and 32-seat cinema. From $330.

This appeared in the October 2015 issue.
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Ashford Castle
The recently refurbished castle, which dates back to 1228, is perhaps the finest hotel in Ireland. Antiques and art fill the 82 rooms and suites, and the surrounding 350 acres provide a playground where guests can try archery, falconry, and many other activities. From $330.

From the March/April 2017 issue
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Living in a Castle
While staying at Ashford Castle in Ireland, I wandered into as many nooks and crannies as I could. I delved into the history of the stunning, historic estate. I chatted with the maids and waiters. The young lady at the front desk had so many wonderful little details to relate about the castle and its grounds. There were gorgeous, well-kept and manicured grounds, the shimmering lake, quiet gravel paths, and profuse foliage. The stone walls, the castle, and the gate were imposing - you could just imagine living there centuries ago. In 1228, the castle was built on the site of a 6th century monastery. By 1715, the castle was established as an estate. In 1852, Sir Benjamin Guinness extended the estate to 26,000 acres. By 1915, the castle was considered a first class hotel. Today, Ashford castle is considered to be one of the finest hotels in the world. The estate has a fine spa and beautiful dining rooms and public rooms. Ashford Castle is a very popular venue for the wedding of your dreams. Fishing, boat trips, lake cruises, falconry, horse riding, archery, bike riding, and kayaking are all offered at this luxury hotel. I would definitely stay at Ashford Castle again if in western Ireland.
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Famous Visitors to a Castle
In 1228, an castle was built in Cong, Ireland on the remains of a 6th century monastery. The castle became an estate by 1715 and the estate was enlarged as time went by and acres were added to it. By 1915, this estate became a first class hotel. many celebrities and royals stayed at the Castle. King George V of the United Kingdom visited. And Prince Ranier of Monoco was also a guest with his famous wife, American actress Grace Kelly. In 1951, John Ford arrived in Cong to produce the film "The Quiet Man" which starred John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara among others. Most of the film stars and producers stayed at Ashford Castle during the filming. John Ford used many sites on the Castle grounds in the film. Other famous guests were President John F. Kennedy, President Ronald Reagan, Oscar Wilde, John Lennon, and Brad Pitt. When you stay at this luxury hotel and spa, you can see why the famous, well-to-do, or any traveler enjoys being pampered there. Ashford Castle is a luxury hotel for a special visit while in Ireland. For info: www.ashford.ie/index.php
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Ireland's First School of Falconry
If you are staying at or near Ashford Castle, stop by the First School of Falconry. In addition to flying the awesome falcons, you can also fly Dingle, Ashford's resident owl - if he is feeling like it.
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Ashford Castle Estate, Leaf Island, Cong, Co. Mayo, F31 CA48, Ireland
+353 94 954 6003