Stayed at Ashford Castle just before Christmas. This is the third time I and my family have stayed here. We booked the ‘Taste of Ireland’ package which includes Bed, Breakfast and Evening meals for two nights plus an Afternoon Tea. One evening meal is in the George V dining room.
The Castle was the former country home of the Guinness family and also hosted John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara during the filming of the epic film ‘The Quiet Man’. The nearby village of Cong has a museum dedicated to the film and a full size statue of the two actors adorn the village square.
The place is steeped in history both ancient and recent. Much work has been done to modernise the accommodation but none of the old world charm and decor has been affected.
This charm extends to the staff who are a mixture of all nationalities but seem to have all embraced the warmth and informal politeness of the Irish people. Nothing was too much trouble and the fact we keep returning is testimony to this.
In need of some exercise to work off the delicious meals included in the package, the beautiful grounds have lots of quiet footpaths to explore. As I took a stroll I came across the hotel’s ‘falconer’ guiding a bird back to the hotel, flying from tree to tree. For golfers there is a nine hole course. If you want a less energetic method of exploring then there is a cruise of the beautiful Lake Corrib complete with a enjoyable and knowledgeable ‘History ‘ lesson.
Going just before Christmas meant the hotel was decorated for the festivities. The extravagantly decorated tree helped get us in to the Christmas spirit as did the warm mince pies and mulled wine supplied as we checked in.
In the past we have flown to Knock airport and hired a car but we got cheap flights to Dublin, picked up a car there and drove across country which took about 4 hours.
It is an expensive hotel but you can pick up a decent deal (The Taste of Ireland package in particular) if you keep an eye on their website. I could write a lot more about this place but I think you will already appreciate this is my and my families’ favourite hotel.