- 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
Outstanding visit. Ashford Castle was a truly memorable experience. It is very expensive but the service is absolutely superb and everything we did during our visit was great. We had drinks in the bars, a wonderful dinner in the George fifth restaurant, enjoyed the lovely pool, went horseback riding- but the best experience was the hawk walk! Everything about the experience was first class.
We did a self driving tour of Ireland last year and had a wonderful two night stay. We had to come back to Ireland again this year for a family wedding so we decided to return for a three night stay and it was wonderful again. Some of the staff from last year even remembered us. Last year we had the Corrib Lake View room which we thought was great but this year we upgraded to the Lakeview Deluxe room and it was fabulously luxurious. The staff throughout the hotel were fantastic - always friendly and helpful. There were too many so cannot remember all their names but would like to thank Daryl at the bar, Andy, Rhoda & Milic at the George V Restaurant, Maria & Sinead at reception, and Frank the doorman for making our stay so special and memorable. Whenever we return to Ireland, we hope to be back.
This is me and my family’s first time in Ireland, and I am glad that this was the first place that we went to and slept in. Besides the great hotel rooms and activities to do, the employees of the castle itself give you a tour of the hotel before you even settle in, which is something that I admire. Overall, I definitely recommend this hotel for anyone that is trying to find a good, or even great place to stay.
It is great and beautiful you have so many activities and it is the perfect family trip it is my first time here and it is already great there are so many adventures and I recommend for you to come here!!!
My wife and I have recently stayed in Ashford Castle during a short visit to Ireland in July which also included Adare Manor and The K Club. We had previously visited Ballyfin in April for a couple of nights, rated No. 1 in Ireland by Conde Nast above Ashford Castle at No. 2. So, which hotel did we like the most? First place goes to Ashford Castle for a number of reasons. It has the best dining options, with The George V restaurant easily the best restaurant of all the hotels. Not only was the food the best but also The George V has atmosphere; the signature restaurants in Ballyfin and Adare Manor are much smaller and too quiet for our liking. The beautiful gardens of Ashford Castle are also more impressive than both Adare and certainly Ballyfin and Ashford Castle seemed also to have the most activities on offer. We stayed in a deluxe lake view room in the old part of the hotel with very high ceilings. The Ballyfin rooms are probably better and more exclusive but we found that hotel lacked the great atmosphere of Ashford Castle.
This is an expensive hotel and seems to be a very popular destination in particular with US citizens; it looked like 80% of the signatories in the guest book were from the USA and there is a very good reason why so many fly across the Atlantic to stay here. It’s excellent but also a fun place to stay with excellent service, particularly in the restaurant.
The hotel is 5+ star and we will be back, next time with kids in tow.