Ashford Castle is a five star luxury hotel near Cong 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.
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 it’s 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.
This thirteenth-century former monastery, set against a backdrop of forests, mountains, and Lough Corrib, is in a class of its own. Formerly the Guinness family home, and a location in John Ford’s The Quiet Man, it now has guest rooms with high ceilings and four-poster beds, some with fireplaces, antique furnishings, and claw-foot tubs—though they can be “tired looking.” Most rooms have a decanter of sherry or an Irish liqueur. These beautiful grounds have wonderful recreational activities such as skeet shooting, falconry, and private hawk walks. “Service throughout is outstanding.
The 1950’s film ‘The Quiet Man’ by John Ford was filmed in Cong and there are nightly showings at the castle.