- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Handicap Accessible
- 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
This place is extremely well orchestrated. All the staff were amazing, the castle was beautiful but my favorite part were the grounds. We even went zip lining which was so much fun! My stay was spectacular!
I'm no stranger to Ireland. Our 5 night stay at Ashford Castle was exceptional. It was a true luxury vacation made possible by the gracious hospitality extended to my husband and I by every member of Ashford's staff, the undeniably fabulous food, music, and indeed the rich cultural and historical experience itself. Special thanks to Laura Jamieson who reached out and organized our horseback riding, dining, fishing, falconry, and golf before our arrival. Laura then continued to place herself at our disposal throughout the visit. Five nights .... barely enough time to sample the extensive amenities Ashford has to offer, which is why we will return and bring the rest of the family with us including our grandchildren. Soon!!!! Thank you Laura, Niambh, Sinead, Jenny, Helen, Robert, Paddy, Michael, Adrian, Said and so many more!
Imagine you've been invited to Downton Abbey for the weekend. From the moment you arrived, you are transported into a kinder, gentler time where you are pampered and spoilt no matter who you are or where you are from. Your room, the amenities, the meals, the staff are incomparable. There is an art to service that is perfection, yet not snooty. Yes, the cost is on the high end of the scale. We balanced with lovely B&Bs to have this splurge. Once in a lifetime experience, especially the Hawk Walk in the magical forest. The latest renovation with heated bathroom floors, wonderful plumbing and lighting, and thoughtful touches down to the custom napkin for the hot teapot handle, show that no detail is missed. Skip lunch and do an early tea--the finest ever. All the chocolates are handcrafted in their own mini-factory. The pastry chef is world-class. The breakfast offerings include gluten-free, 3 types of alternative milk products, and even kale juice, if that's your thing. There's a sense you belong there. We never wanted to wake up from the dream.
We loved you Ashford Castle!
Checked in on a lovely Irish rainy afternoon and were met by an amazing staff of doormen and front desk staff. We were offered a fruity tea & gin drink which was an excellent way to begin. We were showed around the hotel and to our room. Deluxe room was spacious as was the bathroom. Though it was blustery outdoors the room was cozy with the fireplace lit. The Room was an amazing representation of the period.
Outstanding towels and linens. Efficient housekeeping staff. Plenty of storage for three weeks of cool weather clothing. Comfortable bed. Hotel and grounds in general were immaculate.
We stopped for a drink at the handsome library type bar where Michael poured a perfect Manhattan cocktail. It was a comfortable place to relax with a fireplace and whenever we returned Michael was there to serve.
Ate at George V the first night… it was a fine dining experience. Cuisine was delicious and service was impeccable. Giuseppe made our evening far and away a very special occasion. Breakfast in the George V dining room was an exceptional event.
The next day we got “lost” in the Ashford Castle woods after a walk to the Guinness Tower. A delightful lady from Cong walking her little dog Bella showed us the way. (Her son is a staff member at the hotel… I think “Allen”-?) BTW: you cannot get “lost” in the Ashford Castle woods. ;-)
Our stay at Ashford Castle was like a lovely dream.
PS: Almost forgot the fabulous wolf hounds that visit every morning! They were amazing!
We went as a family celebration to join a couple who were staying at this hotel .we had bar food in the lounge. We chose prawn and lobster salad which was so cold there was no taste whatsoever. some of us then had a club sandwich . Toast uncooked and no mayonnaise even on the side. The fish cake was not good. We had one bottle of champagne and two bottles of wine. And Coffees . We got a bill for 6 people of €650 what a complete rip off. I know Ashford castle has notions of grandeur but all I would say there are beautiful hotels in Ireland with wonderful food. You don’t need to come here to be ripped off.