- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
Ireland is one of the world’s most magical destinations; it makes for an ideal place to ring in the new year. And Ashford Castle is one of the most magnificent places in the country. Just 45 minutes from Galway Airport, it’s past fields so green that they almost look fake.
The royal treatment begins the minute I get out of my vehicle: my luggage is whisked away and I’m handed an arrival drink — a top-secret recipe called “Arthur’s Bellini”, named after Arthur Guinness, the famed brewmaster and previous owner of the castle. It’s a combination of Guinness and champagne that’s just a touch sweet and remarkably delicious.
The décor inside the Great Hall is period perfect with Waterford chandeliers and gilt mirrors and fireplaces. I flop into a large upholstered chair — to me, Ashford looks handsomely well-worn like a cozy family estate.
Despite the intimate feel Ashford is quite large. With 350 acres of sprawling land and 83 guest rooms, there are plenty of opportunities to get lost (I make a few wrong turns before finding my room.) Each boudoir at Ashford has unique period décor with carefully hidden modern amenities like heated towel racks. Bathrooms are nearly as large as the bedrooms with double basins and a copious amount of marble. I love the old-fashioned claw foot tubs and oversized beds. I feel like a princess. No wonder Grace Kelly was an Ashford regular. I treat myself to afternoon tea. The scones and clotted cream, cucumber sandwiches with butter and pastel-colored cakes are so generous, I’m ready for an afternoon nap.
Over dinner in the Connaught Room, an Irish guest tells the story of the mischievous ghost on the 4th floor. The restaurant prides itself on featuring local Irish produce, tempting me to try the Chef’s degustation menu; however, traditional fish and chips win me over. For dessert, I indulge in an Irish cheese plate. Gaelic cheese is totally underrated. It is absolutely the creamiest, most delicate cheese I’ve ever tasted.
The next morning I wander the lush grounds, where wild woods border manicured gardens, until finally arriving at The School of Falconry. There aren’t many firsts left in travel, but casting my beautiful hawk “Milly” into the trees and seeing her sweep back and land delicately on my gloved forearm is an unfamiliar thrill. After a morning with the hawks and Dingle, the adorable 22-pound owl, I am happy to stay on property and go to the spa. I also debate a Lough Carrib river cruise, but the concierge convinces me to explore nearby towns of Galway, Clifdon and Cong instead.
A delightful drive through the countryside and I begin to understand what “forty shades of green” really means. I pass rolling hills scattered with blonde cows and hear the sounds of locals enjoying a pint (or two). I join them for a drink and satisfy my need for a medieval adventure.
How to Get There
Having stayed here before and enjoying our first visit so much, we brought my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for their first trip to Ireland. Ashford Castle is fantastic in every way possible. The rooms are great, the surroundings are beautiful and the staff is most accomodating and hospitable. This was our third visit here and we have enjoyed each trip more than the previous and have recommended this locale to many of our friends. There is so much to do in and around the grounds and especially if you are just looking for some quiet time to spend with someone close to you. You will be treated like royalty.
We were here for 2 nights to celebrate a special birthday. Every aspect of the stay was perfect...we received the warmest of welcomes on arrival and this included the winter warming punch - a lovely treat after our long drive. The hawk walk is a unique experience & provided us with some amazing photo opportunities. We also enjoyed a visit to the inhouse cinema to watch the Quiet Man...with fresh popcorn! We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner in the Dungeon, where I had the most wonderful steak and not forgetting breakfast served every morning in the George V dining room. All the staff were so helpful & friendly which also added to our overall experience. The castle and the grounds are wonderful places to explore...our only regret was not enough time to see more. This however gives us more of a reason to return.....a big thank you!
Had a great stay at this stunning property. All the staff were incredible but I have to give a special mention to Shane Kerrigan. He is hands down the best concierge I have ever dealt with. Hold on to your best as this definitely makes the experience that bit more special.
Wanted our 45th Wedding anniversary to be Excellent and upon arrival to Ashford Castle it was, from the minute we arrived at the front gate it was beyond magic. The staff were great & very welcoming & the restaurants & afternoon tea was excellent. It was All in All a Great way to Spend our 45th Anniversary & Would Like To Thank All The Staff At Ashford Castle We Will Be Returning .
Ashford Castle was everything and more! I honestly would name my child Ashford because it was just that good! Everyone that we came into contact with was just absolutely amazing and anticipated any need we might have. The room was luxurious and the mattress gave us one of the best sleeps we had the entire trip in Ireland. The salmon BLT was to die for! We also had dinner in the dungeon area? It was absolutely fantastic and one of the best meals we have ever had. The falconry is an absolute MUST and the hot chocolate at the end was such a great touch. Lastly, and by far the best thing ever! Was petting the Irish wolfhound! So cool to be next to such a gentle giant! Love love love this place and I can’t wait to visit again :)