near Cong, County Mayo, Ireland
Ashford Castle can be found 45 miles north of Galway on the west coast of Ireland. It is positioned on an isthmus between Lough Corrib and Lough Mask and is surrounded by 350 acres of parkland.
The entrance to the castle is over a stone bridge protected by turrets at either side. The castle itself is of grey stone and is a combination of a Norman castle and French chateau, all totally renovated. Its formal and walled gardens stretch out towards the loughs on either side.
Ashford Castle has been used as a high class hotel since 1939 and today is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World group. It offers fishing and lake cruises along with a falconry school and equestrian centre. The hotel also has its own 9 hole golf course and a health and beauty centre.
It can accommodate 150 guests in its 83 rooms which are all individually designed with period furniture and unique views over the countryside. There are three dining rooms each with its own theme and traditional evening entertainment of music and storytelling is provided in the Dungeon.
The castle has an experienced team who individually tailor wedding packages for both intimate and large scale weddings; it is even possible to have exclusive use of the castle over the weekend.
The Norman castle dates back to 1228 when it was founded by the de Burgo family, they were defeated in a battle in 1589 and lost their home to Lord Ingham governor of Connaught.
It was transformed in 1715 by the Oranmore and Browne family with the addition of a French style chateau and in 1852 itís owner Sir Benjamin Guinness (of the brewing family) extended the estate to 26,000 acres planting trees and adding a further two Victorian extensions. During this time George V, Prince of Wales and many other important guests stayed with the Guiness family. In the 19th century Arthur Guinness incorporated both the castle and the chateau into the one large building it is today.
From 1939 onwards Ashford Castle has also welcomed many famous guests amongst them the then president of America Ronald Regan.
The 1950ís film ĎThe Quiet Maní by John Ford was filmed in Cong and there are nightly showings at the castle.
Other Castles in the Area
Aughanure Castle, County Galway
Castleburke, County Mayo