Unrivalled service, warm Irish hospitality and five-star luxury await at Ashford Castle, part of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection. Situated in a spectacular 350-acre estate, discover sumptuous rooms and suites, splendid interiors brimming with antique furniture, fine fabrics and unique features at every turn.
This 800-year-old castle is truly remarkable, a grand, historic structure with national significance. The former home of the Guinness family, it has hosted countless notables over the years, including The Prince of Wales (who later became King George V) and President Ronald Reagan.
Red Carnation’s impeccable five-year restoration, drawing on local experts and artisans, has reaffirmed Ashford Castle’s status as one of the most prestigious hotels in Europe – a true celebration of past, present and future.
A favourite welcome drink on arrival, fresh-cut bouquets in the suites, candlelit turndowns, personalised gifts, complimentary use of our ‘wellies’… these all create a cosseting experience that make guests feel truly valued.
Elegant and exceptional, each suite is named after our most famous past guests, from Senator Kennedy to President Reagan. Our private hideaway boathouse serves as the ultimate romantic retreat, and pays homage to the heritage of the estate.
We pour our creativity into every exquisite suite, inspired by our unique, historical surroundings to create rich and layered interiors. Rare, hand-chosen antiques complement silk-lined walls, curated artworks and silk curtains that frame the views of our verdant grounds and the lake beyond.
The elegant suites are masterpieces, named after some of our most famous past guests, from Senator Kennedy to President Reagan, and each suite enjoys breathtaking views of the River Cong or Lough Corrib.
Reagan Presidential Suite
The Reagan Presidential Suite is located in the oldest wing of the castle, boasting an original fireplace, a stunning antique George III style four-poster bed, original portrait art, individually sourced antiques and spectacular floor to ceiling views of Lough Corrib.
This split level suite offers two bathrooms and can be combined with two adjacent rooms – the Kennedy Suite and Corrib Lake View Room – to complete a private three-bedroom wing of the castle.
Named after US Senator Ted Kennedy, who stayed at Ashford in the early 1980s, the Kennedy Suite (one of the Castle’s exceptional Staterooms) is located in the oldest wing of the castle and features an impressive selection of antique furniture, including a 19th-century walnut bed, an early 18th century Spanish Armoire and an early Victorian Rosewood centre table.
The Kennedy Suite enjoys spectacular views over Lough Corrib and can be combined with the Reagan Presidential Suite to complete a private three-bedroom wing of the castle.
Our Staterooms are grand statements of traditional elegance and comfort, combining all the modern amenities you could wish for. These wonderfully appointed rooms are generously proportioned and feature high ceilings with views of Lough Corrib or the River Cong.
Each Stateroom is located in the oldest part of the castle, dating back to the 13th and 17th centuries. Rooms contain feature beds and original fireplaces with exquisite antique furniture. The Staterooms also boast large bathrooms.
Each of the 83 rooms, suites and Hideaway Cottage at Ashford Castle represent traditional elegance and finesse. Following extensive refurbishment, many of the rooms and suites have been individually and lovingly designed, combining the castle’s original features with the latest modern luxuries.
Meticulous attention to detail can be found in the unique works of art, carefully sourced antique furniture and sumptuous fabrics with custom designed carpets, bespoke beds, feature lighting, exquisite towelling and Egyptian Cotton bed linen.
Deluxe Queen Family Rooms
Our Deluxe Queen Rooms consist of two queen size beds with beautiful views of the magnificent Lough Corrib. Overlooking the magnificent Lough Corrib.
The rooms are perfect for couples or families (suitable for two adults and two children under the age of 12 years) as they are well equipped with a large bathroom with shower and marble sinks.
Many of our rooms are also interconnecting and this is guaranteed at the time of reservation. Children are well looked after and will receive robes, slippers and many other thoughtful extras including juice and cookies on arrival.
Lake View Deluxe Rooms
Discover the attention to detail in our Lake View Deluxe Rooms – newly refurbished to the highest standard with views over the magnificent Lough Corrib, providing refined traditional style and luxurious comforts in abundance. These beautiful bedrooms are ideal for admiring the exquisite surroundings.
Rooms feature wonderful antiques such as a German Baroque stumpwork silk decorated tester bed made for Friedrich Christian Freiherr von Spee in the late 17th Century; a Louis XV painted and parcel gilt trumeau mirror circa 1750; and satinwood and rosewood crossbanded writing tables circa 1900, used as bedside tables.
This former boathouse dates back to the Guinness era and is situated a stone’s throw from The Castle on the shores of Lough Corrib.
Surrounded by private gardens and lakefront views, guests enjoy the luxurious comfort and relaxation of this beautiful space, with soothing sounds of lapping lake waters. For your privacy, access is through secure gates.
The Cottage has been lovingly restored, the unique design includes reclaimed materials such as stone and old fireplace lintels from the Castle Estate. Hand-crafted parquet flooring, original artworks, lush fabrics and a blue Murano glass chandelier adorns the ceiling.
Custom furniture pieces include French Empire marquetry chests of drawers; a 20th century, four-fold European canvas screen; art by Louis Icart and a late 19th century pair of walnut armchairs covered in tapestry by Brunschwig & Fils.
The Cottage will capture your heart and make you feel immediately at home. On arrival, you will be greeted at The Castle and escorted to The Hideaway Cottage. A welcome basket awaits along with a fully stocked bar. To complete your Country escape, bicycles are available for your use and guests can also avail of the hotel and its 350-acre estate’s amenities.
Dine alfresco on the pier, weather permitting! The lake reflecting the stars in the evening is a memory that will stay with you for a lifetime. Enjoy private dining or any of the dining facilities available on the Estate. Enjoy a luxurious Irish luxury holiday cottage like no other. With a concierge service available 24-hours a day.
An unforgettable culinary journey
Discover creative Irish cuisine inspired by the finest seasonal ingredients from the West of Ireland and produce foraged from the Ashford Estate, alongside an extensive wine cellar kept in the Castle’s secret passageways.
Executive Chef Philippe Farineau gives fine expression to the dishes offered in the four main dining rooms – whether it’s fine dining in the grandeur of the George V Dining Room, casual dining in the beautiful setting of Cullen’s at the Cottage or the atmospheric Dungeon, or a delightful Afternoon Tea in the elegant Connaught Room.
Bars & Restaurants
We believe strongly in sourcing fresh produce from our local producers, as well as growing much of our ingredients in our own gardens and polytunnels. These are transformed into delicious works of art in our six restaurants and three bars, at the skilled hands of Executive Chef Philippe Farineau and his wonderful team.
Exceptional seasonal events
Browse our calendar of extraordinary experiences at Ashford Castle, from seasonal cocktails and menus using the finest local produce, to unique tasting journeys and extra-special events.
We go to great lengths to provide the very best experiences and welcome suggestions – please do feel free to let us know what may be of interest to you. We look forward to welcoming you in the coming months as we celebrate the changing seasons.
Dine like royalty
A sophisticated setting, with twinkling Waterford Crystal chandeliers, bestows a grand sense of occasion. Enjoy live entertainment while our resident pianist plays softly in the background. Dishes include slow-roasted rib of beef from our carving trolley served with a homemade béarnaise sauce and a red wine and shallot jus.
End your evening with an array of scrumptious desserts, such as Nyangbo frozen chocolate mousse served with estate grown crabpear gel and pear and vanilla sorbet and salted chocolate crisp.
Enjoy a private wine tasting or wonderful wine dinner in the secret passageways of the castle. It has now been transformed and the 16th Century tunnels provide three unique private spaces.
The extensive wine list has been carefully selected by our knowledgeable sommelier, where you can sample a fine selection of vintages and a choice of new and old world wines. For groups of up to six people. Private tastings can be booked daily, subject to availability.
Craft gin tasting
Learn the secrets of the trade as you taste select craft gins from distilleries around the world, including the Gunpowder Irish Gin. You’ll have the opportunity to craft your own miniature gin, using gin botanicals, which you will be able to take home.
Tastings can be booked between 12 noon and 5pm in The Prince of Wales Bar or between 6pm and 8pm in The Billiards Room. For groups of up to 10 people. Gin tastings can be booked daily, subject to availability.
Breakfast is served daily in the George V Dining Room. The grand setting, featuring panelled walls and Waterford Crystal chandeliers, creates a sense of occasion. Executive Chef Philippe Farineau’s team use the finest seasonal ingredients from the West of Ireland and the freshest produce foraged from the Estate.
George V breakfast menu
Discover our rich selection of produce used in Lord Ardilaun’s award-winning breakfast selection. The breakfast was awarded a Sustainability Award for its use of local ingredients at the Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards.
Red Carnation breakfast rooms
For those that live by the motto ‘breakfast like a king,’ there are few more august places to do so than in Red Carnation Hotels’ luxurious breakfast rooms. Our finest breakfast rooms combine stunning surrounds with delicious morning menus.
The long established tradition of Afternoon Tea has been wonderfully preserved at Ashford Castle since 1868 – you’ll notice the original silver tea set displayed in the Connaught Room, which was presented to Lord and Lady Ardilaun to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in 1896.
With spectacular views from the comfort of the castle’s elegant interior, take your time to savour every delicious moment. Afternoon Tea may be served in The Drawing Room on occasion, with its beautiful views onto the gardens, Loch Corrib and beyond.
The Afternoon Tea menu offers guests a wide selection of speciality teas or perhaps a glass of Champagne, delicate finger sandwiches, and warm freshly baked scones with lashings of cream and home-made jam, not to mention our tasty pastries. It’s the perfect way to spend a leisurely afternoon with friends.
Private Dining at Ashford Castle
If you are planning a special meeting or celebration and want to mark the occasion in style, then Ashford Castle offers a number of spaces to suit your preferences and requirements.
From intimate dining to grand banqueting, we’ll create the ambience you desire with a host of personal and thoughtful touches to make the event one you and your guests will remember fondly.
Discreet and efficient staff will be on hand to ensure you have everything you wish to make the event a success and a range of menus and wines can be tailored to your needs.
The Midleton Distillery is home to the largest inventory of maturing Irish whiskey in the world. Its Master Distiller, Brian Nation, hand-selects the finest whiskeys for the Midleton Very Rare collection.
This includes releases such as single pot stills, single cask bottlings, travel retail exclusives, special editions and prestige and ultra-prestige bottlings. Ashford Castle’s Cask #70345 is an American virgin oak barrel that was filled with a medium style pot still.
A virgin oak barrel means it hasn’t held bourbon prior to arriving to Midleton, thus making the contribution from the oak a lot richer and more profound. The style of pot still distillate retains the classic spicy character holding up to the significant wood element to give good balance.
Waterford Crystal was first established in 1783 on land adjacent to Merchants’ Quay in the heart of the Irish harbour town of Waterford, just minutes from the present day House of Waterford Crystal.
The business thrived for 70 years before falling victim to the economy and world events. The company saw a resurgence after World War II and has since regained its status as some of the world’s finest crystal today.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with two such iconic brands,’ said Ashford Castle General Manager Niall Rochford, ‘particularly ones that so closely reflect the standard and attitude toward guest experiences”.
A vineyard between heaven & earth
Cradled amid the hills of the Hemel-en-Aarde (Heaven and Earth) valley, our sister vineyard Bouchard Finlayson is widely acclaimed as one of South Africa’s leading boutique wine cellars.
As part of The Travel Corporation (TTC) family of brands, we are proud to showcase and serve the delicious collection of Bouchard Finlayson wines in each of our restaurants and bars.
With a terroir defined by both ancient soils and a cool maritime climate, the vineyards of Bouchard Finlayson are famous for producing award-winning Pinot Noir, elegant Chardonnay and terroir-driven Sauvignon Blanc, while inspired blends showcase the depth of skill and innovation in our winemaking team.
Dine like royalty
Ashford Castle has been hosting distinguished guests for almost 800 years – one of the most prominent being the Prince of Wales, who subsequently became George V of England. In honour of his visit in 1905, the Guinness family built a special dining room that still bears his name proudly to this day.
The graceful setting, with rich, panelled walls and twinkling Waterford Crystal chandeliers bestows a grand sense of occasion. Our fine dining restaurant offers an expression of culinary expertise from the Estate reflecting Chef Philippe’s moto – ‘French heart, Irish produce’.
All complemented by a fine selection of wines from Head Sommelier Paul Fogerty. Choose from dishes such as our signature beef which is served from our carving trolley table side or, our daily catch of the day sourced from Irish waters.
To end your meal, an array of tempting desserts await, as well as our homemade selection of petit fours to linger over with tea and coffee. Please note a dinner jacket is required for gentlemen in the George V Dining Room.
As its name would suggest, the unique setting located on the lower ground floor of the castle invites diners to enjoy a range of dishes from the bistro-style menu with a focus on traditional Irish cuisine beneath the historic curved stone ceiling. Together with a relaxed ambience, it makes for a wonderful and memorable dining experience.
The perfect seasonal setting
This traditional thatched cottage – which used to be Cong Cinema, showing films on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the first place to show The Quiet Man even before it was shown in Hollywood – today provides a relaxed dining experience.
With a casual dress code, enjoy international and local dishes inspired by our owner Beatrice Tollman, including our delicious signature dish ‘Chicken Peri Peri’. It is slow cooked in our rotisserie oven in the main dining area, so mouth-watering aromas greet you as soon as you enter the restaurant.
At the front of the building you will now discover a beautifully manicured garden and extended patio area, proving a spectacular area to enjoy lunch, sip a cocktail and take in the magnificent views of Ashford Castle in the distance…
The perfect place to watch the world go by after a walk through the gardens or a round of golf. Open seasonally, from March through to October, Cullen’s is just a short stroll over the bridge from the castle.
Booking in advance is advisable to avoid disappointment. This restaurant is open to guests and residents staying at the castle but it has limited capacity.
Relax overlooking Lough Corrib
As you enter The Drawing Room you’ll immediately be struck by the breathtaking views across the manicured lawns out across the expansive Lough Corrib. The ideal setting for morning coffee and light lunches from the bar menu, simply sink into comfortable chairs to enjoy fine hospitality in total comfort.
Whether you’re enjoying a romantic break, catching up with family and friends or hosting a relaxed meeting, The Drawing Room lends itself perfectly for the occasion.
Discover an authentic American diner
A warm Irish welcome with an American twist awaits at Stanley’s, where a beautiful mahogany-and-marble counter bar overlooks a stunning open kitchen.
Striking green-and-white fabric wallpaper meets mahogany walls, and a portrait of Elvis Presley by renowned artist Mr Brainwash is set on a beautiful mirror that stretches the width of the room.
With only nine leather-and-copper stools, Stanley’s is intimate and fun, with diner classics given an Ashford Castle twist. The original orange freeze drink is infused with Irish tea, while omelettes and bagels are made all the more luxurious with Ashford caviar and Alba truffle.
The epitome of elegance
The Connaught Room is flanked with floor to ceiling windows commanding spectacular views of the Castle’s manicured gardens and the magnificent Lough Corrib. The room captivates guests with its inspiring Donegal Crystal chandelier, panelled oak walls and a hand-carved fireplace.
The menu offers our guests a delightful selection of speciality teas, delicate finger sandwiches with traditional fillings, warm scones and handmade pastries. The Connaught Room is the venue of our regular wine dinners. Afternoon Tea service is currently only available to residents staying at the Castle.
Experience a unique evening in the original house where ‘The Quiet Man’ was filmed in the 1950s, in and around Ashford Castle and Cong, with traditional Irish entertainment from the period.
Recently restored to epitomise a thatched cottage from the era, the authentic ‘Squire Danagher’s’ Cottage offers guests the chance to immerse themselves in the Irish culture of the time.
The Spa at Ashford Castle was awarded ‘Ireland’s Best Hotel Spa’ in 2021 for the 6th year in a row by World Spa Awards and we were also voted ‘Best in Sustainability’ in the 2019 Irish Tatler Awards.
We are dedicated to restoring beauty and balance through treatments and spa journeys, personalised for each of our guests by exceptionally skilled therapists.
Our commitment to wellbeing focuses on essential ancient wisdom with modern expertise. A luxurious spa experience, our guests leave feeling nurtured, purified, pampered, and relaxed.
The spa has remarkable features including three exquisite seashell chandeliers and a mesmerising Tree of Life mural stretching the length of the relaxation pool.
State-of-the-art facilities include five exceptional treatment rooms, an invigorating Hammam, a relaxing steam room, and a beautiful terrace area with serene views over the tranquil waters of one of Ireland’s largest lakes.
We are partnered with a range of different brands including VOYA, an organic beauty range that uses hand-harvested seaweed as well as our very own exclusive B|Africa products which were created in honour of our Founder Bea Tollman.
Within the striking bronze conservatory and overlooking Lough Corrib, the relaxation pool provides an area of calm and tranquility, with seated jets, unique seashell chandeliers and the ‘Tree of Life’ mural, stretching the length of the pool and symbolising Irish Celtic Mythology.
The fitness suite
With breathtaking, elevated views over Lough Corrib, the fitness suite is far from an average workout space. Floor to ceiling windows draw the spectacular scenery inside, where you’ll find the latest life fitness equipment. A personal trainer will be on hand to create bespoke sessions according to your specific goals.
Five beautiful treatment rooms, including a couple’s room, have been expertly designed to induce a sense of serenity the moment you enter.
In keeping with the elegant style of the castle, they are the perfect place to enjoy an extensive collection of indulgent and results-driven treatments, from regenerating facials and refreshing scrubs to detoxifying wraps, and aroma and marine therapies.
In centuries past the Hammam was known as the ‘silent doctor’ – a place of cleansing and healing for both body and soul. Indulge yourself in traditional Middle Eastern treatments while your imagination takes you on a mystical journey into the past that traces its roots back to the Roman Thermae.
Essence infused steam room & lifestyle showers
A traditional heat experience has been carefully designed with stone heated seats and walls with intense steam heat, and an infusion of eucalyptus to benefit breathing, aid relaxation and improve circulation.
Designed to work with the unique Hammam environment, the steam room raises your body temperature and allows for a deep release, while the heated marble slab induces cleansing warmth.
Perfect to book after your spa experience, The Salon’s services include wash and blowouts, wash and blow-drys and up-styling, as well as treatment mask therapy for conditioning the scalp and hair. All hair services can be personalised to suit your needs and can be included with any service.
Magical weddings at an iconic Castle
With rooms and suites tucked away in turrets, plush beds and incredible views, there’s no doubt why Ashford Castle wins the award for the most romantic hotel in Europe time after time. For the perfect day that you will remember for years to come, it’s hard to imagine a more magnificent venue.
Having welcomed royalty, heads of state and celebrities, our experienced Events Team are equipped with all the skills, talent and enthusiasm required to make every moment utterly magical. Ashford Castle is the ultimate wedding destination.
For intimate weddings, the beautiful and serene surroundings of Ashford Castle are perfectly suited to small celebrations as well as large lavish affairs.
Whether you are opting for a celebration for just the two of you together, or with your nearest and dearest, our dedicated staff will make sure your special moment together is everything you could wish for.
From the flowers to the photography, to the cake and the entertainment, to the order of the day and all of the fine details in between, we will arrange the day you have always dreamed about. The difference is in the detail.
Make Ashford Castle truly your own – you can hire the entire estate so it’s exclusively yours. The castle’s 83 bedrooms, suites and Lakeside Hideaway Cottage will accommodate up to 160 guests, allowing you and your wedding party to enjoy the full castle experience without interruption.
Enjoy exclusive use of all restaurants and bars including The George V Dining Room for an unforgettable wedding breakfast, the underground Wine Cellars for a magical pre-wedding event or the impressive Oak Hall for a show-stopping reception in the heart of the castle.
An exclusive use wedding also offers a range of unforgettable estate activities for you and your guests to enjoy including falconry, equestrian, golf, river cruising, fishing and spa treatments.
Hold your ceremony in a local church, in the castle’s elegant Drawing Room or weather permitting, outside in the castle gardens with remarkable views over Lough Corrib and an impressive castle backdrop.
If you would prefer a church wedding, a choice of churches are located in and around the castle grounds – ideal for you and your guests to move between the ceremony and reception venue. Alternatively, Saint Mary’s Church Cong is located in the village, just a three-minute drive from the Ashford Estate.
This beautiful traditional Roman Catholic church is an idyllic location for a wedding. Or, a little further away you’ll find Ballintubber Abbey, founded in 1216 and a 40-minute drive.
A romantic retreat
Our bridal suite, named after president Reagan and with views of Lough Corrib, offers two bathrooms and can be combined with two adjacent rooms to complete a private three-bedroom wing of the castle.
Or opt for the Hideaway Cottage – an exclusive, one-bedroom suite on the water’s edge of the lake. Your guests will be well catered for too – with a total of 83 individually and lovingly designed rooms and suites.
For a honeymoon brimming with enchanting romance, few venues are more likely to provide this than our 800-year-old castle, sequestered within a 350-acre estate that lies near the tranquil west coast of Ireland.
Ashford Castle is blessed with over 83 rooms and suites to choose from, 6 restaurants, 3 bars, an award-winning Spa, and over 20 outdoor adventures that the estate’s adorning landscaped gardens, ancient woodland, and emerald lake play host to.
Begin your honeymoon with a world-famous warm Irish welcome before basking in the glow of all that Ashford Castle offers.
If your dream honeymoon involves both adventure and intrigue, the Ashford Estate and its surrounding area is the perfect playground. The serene waters of the neighbouring River Cong and Lough Corrib lend themselves to boat trips, lake cruising, kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing.
The verdant woodlands form the backdrop for walking, hiking, horse riding, tree climbing, zip-lining, and even falconry. Honeymooners looking to inject some competition into their stay are more than welcome to make use of our tennis, golf, clay shooting, and archery facilities.
We also provide plenty of opportunities for those seeking authentic cultural immersion: Irish food, indigenous craft, music and story, and the real Connemara are the four themes these experiences fall under.
After a busy day exploring all the Ashford Estate has to offer, a cosy night in the Castle can be enjoyed in our private cinema.
Meetings & Events
A successful event requires a suitably impressive and remarkable venue – and Ashford Castle is the perfect choice. As the castle swings into view, with its mighty towers and battlements, surrounded by emerald lawns and sparkling waters, one cannot fail to gasp in astonishment.
Once inside, the grandeur of the interiors, the splendour of the furnishings, the sheer sense of history and the warmth of the welcome is nothing short of bewitching.
For hundreds of years, the grounds of Ashford Castle have provided space for thrilling estate activities for its owners and their friends.
Successive generations of the de Burgo, Bingham, Browne and Guinness families have created one of the finest sporting estates in all of Ireland, if not the world – which is proudly continued to this day.
The expansive 350-acre Ashford Estate lends itself perfectly to a range of activities, from country classic pastimes such as horse riding, fishing, falconry and shooting, to more modern activities such as golf, cycling and kayaking.
So whether you are the active type or prefer to relax and soak up the scenery, you are spoilt for choice at Ashford Castle. Michael and Fiona, our dedicated Activities Coordinators, are on hand to advise, and even have two Go Pro cameras to capture all the action!
Discover the ancient form of falconry at the oldest established Falconry School in Ireland – flying hawks is an experience of a lifetime!
Our aim is to share with you the pleasure and excitement of falconry, a fascination that has enthralled people for 5,000 years, and today provides guests with a unique experience in magnificent surroundings.
Private Hawk Walk
Our one-hour private Hawk Walks give you the incredible opportunity to fly your very own Harris Hawks under the guidance of your instructor.
After you have been introduced to your hawks you’ll set off into the magnificent woodlands to fly your hawks, as they follow you from tree to tree through the woods before swooping down to land on your gloved fist.
Your instructor will explain the hawks’ exceptional eyesight, their speed and agility, and how they were trained by the Falconry School themselves. The minimum age to participate in a Hawk Walk is 7 years old.
For those with a keen interest, the Extended Hawk Walk allows you to go for a longer walk in the woods, giving more flying time and a greater insight into the fascinating hawks’ world.
Traditional boat trips
A fabulous way to experience the magic of Lough Corrib is to glide across the clear waters with our experienced guide, Frank, in the traditional wooden boats he hand-crafted himself.
As a local marine and approved countryside guide by the Irish tourist board, Frank offers guided boat trips on Lough Corrib and to its many beautiful islands for up to three guests at a time, tailoring the itinerary to suit your individual interest and preferences.
Lake cruising at Ashford Castle is a magnificent way to explore the pristine surroundings and soak up the scenery at leisure. With 365 islands and surrounding Connemara Mountains, you will have a great opportunity to photograph Ashford Castle from the water.
Corrib Cruises is a family run passenger boat service on Lough Corrib, operated by brothers Patrick and David Luskin. The business was born when father John Luskin, purchased one of the original tenders (lifeboats) from the Cunard Line of the famous QE2 at an auction in Sandwich Marina in Kent in 1975.
The Isle of Inisfree is an 80 passenger, all-weather craft, licensed by the Irish Department Of Transport. There is a full bar service and toilet facilities onboard.
Enjoy the outdoor upper deck and the lower enclosed deck which is centrally heated during the winter months. All cruises depart Ashford Castle Pier, 100 yards from the front door of the castle.
Walking & hiking
From boosting fitness, to improving mental wellbeing – and even helping us in our social lives, walking and hiking offers all kinds of tangible benefits and there is no better location to enjoy this popular past time than Ireland. The Castle has created several experiences for unforgettable outdoor experiences and our team is happy to help.
The magical setting of the gardens on the edge of Lough Corrib with the Castle as the central feature is truly unique.
Combining a wonderful balance of formal and informal areas, discover the main Parterre, the beautiful Walled Garden full of perennial borders, fruit and vegetables, and the long Terraced Walk and Broad Walk creating vistas across the gardens.
The great woods are home to exceptional ancient trees – perfect to wander through at leisure and enjoy the wildlife and natural environment.
A floral history
The gardens at Ashford Castle were largely created by the Guinness family who owned Ashford Castle for around 100 years, more specifically, Lady Ardilaun who was responsible for laying out the existing structure of Terraces and Walks which so define the gardens at Ashford today.
This was in the 1890s and photographs from that period give a very interesting perspective on the original layout. The first proper restoration of the gardens was carried out in the 1990s, 100 years after their creation; based on the original plans laid out by Lady Ardilaun.
A loving restoration
Since Ashford Castle was lovingly restored by the Tollman family and the Red Carnation Team, a programme was set in motion to restore and develop the gardens.
An extensive tree care operation was carried out as well as careful repair of the many garden monuments, and the Sunken Garden and adjacent section of the Terraced Walk were totally replanted.
The great formal Main Parterre, the beautiful Walled Garden full of perennial borders, fruit and vegetables, and the long Terraced Walk and Broad Walk create vistas across the gardens. The great woods with some exceptional trees are perfect to wander through and enjoy the wildlife and natural environment.
The Tollman Garden, formerly known as the Sunken Garden, is one of several formal gardens arranged along the main terrace walk in the grounds of Ashford Castle.
These gardens, laid out by the Guinness family in the nineteenth century, are amongst the finest of the many beautiful country house gardens to be found in Ireland.
In 1996 a circular pond, measuring eleven metres in diameter, was constructed in the centre of the rectangular lawn that was then known as the Sunken Garden, so called because of the high planted banks that surrounded it.
The garden was approached down steps from the Velvet Garden to the east, and from a tunnel leading from the Walled Garden on the west, and also down steps from the Terrace Walk on the north side. It consisted only of a rectangular walkway leading around the lawn with no paths leading to the central pond.
From our family to yours
With an abundance of activities to keep all ages entertained and one of the most family friendly places you could ever wish to stay, Ashford Castle is a favourite destination for those who seek a carefree break with the children.
We really roll out the red carpet – whether you have little ones who see anything new as a big adventure or teenagers who like to explore, we know exactly how to show them all a great time.
Our services include a host of family friendly facilities and options to make sure everyone feels truly at home and has the time of their lives.
Situated on the banks of Lough Corrib and the River Cong is one of the most famous fisheries in all of Ireland. Covering 44,000 acres, Lough Corrib is the largest of the three lakes in the area and well known for its brown trout, salmon and pike fishing.
Your Ghillie (guide), Frank Costello, is internationally recognised as one of the most knowledgeable experts on fishing Lough Corrib, having lived beside the lake his entire life.
From fly fishing lessons to half and full day trips, Frank will tailor your experience to suit your ability. Suitable for beginners and competent fishermen alike, the majority of fishing trips take place from hand-crafted 19ft clinker traditional wooden boats on Lough Corrib.
Opt for a full day experience and you will enjoy a picnic lunch on one of the islands and the chance to cook your catch! For competent fishermen, we also offer fishing on nearby Lough Mask and Lough Carra, or further afield in Connemara.
The Cong River at the hotel is a great option for very experienced and able-bodied salmon fishermen. All fishing gear is supplied. We recommend you dress in warm, waterproof clothing, boots and bring sunglasses.
The ancient forest is steeped in history and heritage and the beautiful woodland paths and spectacular scenery from the saddle will captivate novice and experienced riders alike.
From the shores of Lough Corrib, Lough Mask and into the mountains of Connemara to the west, the area couldn’t be more magical for riding.
Situated within easy walking distance of the castle, trail rides and lessons are available for all ages and abilities and are accompanied by an experienced guide. Hard hats and Jodhpur boots are provided.
We offer guests two newly resurfaced all-weather courts for complimentary play. Whether you’re a regular player or have never held a racket in your life, you’re sure to enjoy the experience in the magnificent setting of the Ashford Estate. Please book at reception, where rackets and balls are available for hire.
Our picturesque 9-hole, 2996-yard, par 35 parkland course is perfect for golfers of all abilities to hone their skills.
The course, the original deer park of the estate, was designed by the renowned Irish golf architect Eddie Hackett and imaginatively integrates a wide variety of natural features and hazards to create charming par 3s, exciting par 4s and a formidable par 5.
The legendary Irish golfer, Christy O’Connor Senior started his illustrious career here in 1947 as our professional before going on to participate in 10 Ryder Cups! Green fees are complimentary to hotel residents and we provide the latest Titleist clubs.
Ashford Castle is also surrounded by some of the finest Links Golf Courses in the world, including Connemara, Carne, Enniscrone and Sligo. The hotel is ideally located to reach other noteworthy courses such as Ballinrobe, Castlebar and Westport.
Clay shooting & archery
Test your shooting skills in our clay shooting range, or enjoy our dedicated Archery range. Please note: Advance bookings are highly recommended to avoid disappointment.
The Ashford sporting clay range features targets that simulate the game typical of this region. Beginners enjoy a pleasant introduction to the sport and a thorough grounding in the safety and etiquette of shooting in general.
You’ll meet at the Equestrian Centre to meet your instructor who will then direct you to the shooting range. Clay Shooting participants must be over 16 years of age.
Enjoy this ancient sport played by kings and lords for centuries. All the family can participate simultaneously from ages seven upwards, and find out who is the champion!
We use our 50m indoor centre when necessary so this activity is not weather dependent but please bring warm outdoor clothing, rain jacket and comfortable footwear.
Set up according to the National British Grand Championship guidelines with rubber 3D targets and using arrows that are the only ones of their kind in Ireland, this activity takes place at the Equestrian Centre, and participants are required to be as tall as the bow.
Conquer the tallest tree climb in Ireland! ‘Monty’ is over 110 years old, standing at 50 metres and is one of the largest Monterey Pine trees on the Ashford Estate. Tree climbing is an enjoyable outdoor experience.
Experience beautiful surroundings and enjoy the views from the treetop. There are four different climbing routes to choose from, suitable for adults and children.
You can go all the way to the top or as high as you feel comfortable. Before you start the course, you will be fitted in a safety harness and receive a safety briefing by one of our experienced qualified instructors.
The Ashford Estate itself has some great cycling trails and the countryside, with its relatively quiet roads and spectacular scenery, is a cyclist’s idea of heaven. Cycle hire is available at the hotel and we can suggest a variety of popular routes.
Improve your skills with a mountain bike lesson and choose between a private one-to-one or a group session. From beginners to advanced cyclists, our qualified MBLA instructor is on hand to offer advice and tips.
For the more enthusiastic rider, we can arrange guided bike tours which is an amazing opportunity to see Cong and learn of its history and heritage. Departing at 10am or 2pm daily, the tour duration is two hours and caters for all levels of ability.
Glide along the Lough
Enjoy kayaking on the River Cong accompanied by an experienced guide. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon and is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness. Our three-hour pedal and paddle experience is the perfect opportunity to explore the Ashford Estate firstly by bike and then by water.
Catering for all levels from beginners to the more experienced, the tour starts with a cycle along the quiet leafy lanes that lead to huge expanses of mountains and valleys.
You’ll travel along the river bank and take in the breathtaking views of the Ashford Estate, and out onto Lough Corrib in your kayaks where you’ll discover the wonderful peace and tranquillity of this beautiful location.
Stand up paddle boarding
Explore and tour Ashford Bay on the majestic Lough Corrib by stand up paddle board. Take in the magnificent views of the Ashford Estate, Lisloughrey Quay, far-reaching landscapes and spot aquatic life.
Stand up paddle boarding or SUP originated in Hawaii as an offshoot to surfing and is ideal in calm light wind conditions. Ashford Bay and Lough Corrib with its sheltered inlets provide a unique environment to explore and enjoy this magnificent area.
Extraordinary Irish Experiences
Discover and immerse yourself in these unique, authentic and intimate experiences of the West of Ireland, exclusively curated and especially hosted by Ashford Castle’s Experience Ambassador.
During your day of discovery, you will be welcomed into the homes and workshops of three of our treasured artisan partners. Engage all of your senses with the sounds of the workshop, the beautiful landscapes, the smell of Irish rain and the taste of the finest Irish food.
We have exclusively curated a collection of Irish experiences under four themes; Irish food, indigenous craft, music and story, and the real Connemara. This is a unique opportunity to meet the flagbearers of traditional Irish culture.
Our premier cinema room is a magnificent feature – designed with the charm and luxurious comfort of a traditional picture house. Setting the scene with 32 sumptuous red velvet chairs, plenty of leg room and an impressive screen, we invite you to enjoy the action with a vast selection of movies shown daily.
Bring the family along and settle in with fresh popcorn, snacks and beverages and watch a variety of family favourites and all time classics, or enjoy a romantic evening with a loved one, perhaps starting with a drink in the Billiards Room.
The film screenings change weekly to ensure there is something for everyone to enjoy. For a unique experience, why not hire a private screening and enjoy the facilities completely to yourself! Times of screenings varies, however there is usually an afternoon matinee and an evening screening.
Meet the Makers: Irish craft and design
Ireland has a rich history of artisan craftsmanship, and the west of Ireland in particular has drawn these craftspeople as a place of inspiration and work. These experiences will take you into the workshops and homes of these artists and craftspeople.
Get an understanding of the amazing skills involved in the use of their hand-tools and try them out for yourself. We have curated a choice of two itineraries. Each day will include three experiences with our craft artisans, privately hosted by Ashford Castle’s Experience Ambassador.
A taste of the west of Ireland
Meet the people who are at the forefront of Irish artisan food culture in the West of Ireland. The enthusiasm and passion of these food producers is infectious and all the more intimate when they welcome you into their homes. Leave with a taste of what the lush green fields and clean waters around the West of Ireland have to offer.
Meet a second-generation beekeeper at his home apiary at the foot of heather-clad hills. Don your bee suit and learn how to open and work a hive of bees. Experience the excitement, sounds, tastes, and smells of nature’s busiest workers.
The seashore forager
You will be welcomed to the forager’s home on the breathtaking Aughris Beg peninsula. Take a walk on the beautiful seashore overlooking the Atlantic and learn how to forage for tasty seafood. Return to the kitchen and prepare your seashore bounty over a glass of wine.
Walk a small boithrín with a local distiller, picking wild botanicals, exploring their flavours, aromas, and history. Return to the micro-distillery where you will infuse and distill your own unique bottle of gin. Distilling spirits have been part of the fabric of the West of Ireland for centuries.
Irish soda bread
Spend a hands-on morning learning how to make traditional Irish soda bread. While the bread bakes in the oven, explore the history and recipes of Ireland’s favourite staple. Return to the hearth to enjoy tea, warm bread, and conversations in the kitchen.
Experience the life of an Irish farming and cheese-making family. Walk the farm’s pastures and meet the pedigree herd of Friesian cows that graze these meadows. The cheesemaker will take you through the fascinating process of how cheese is made before you taste the various cheeses in the maturation room.
Learn the art of chocolate making from a passionate chocolatier. Try one of the best hot chocolates in the world made with local milk, and make your own chocolate bars, tweaking the flavours for your personal taste. Discover the unique tastes and textures of handmade chocolates made with locally foraged wild ingredients.
Ireland’s ancient music & story
Travel back through the annals of time and meet the experts who carry the art forms of ancient Ireland into the present day.
These are the stories and music that have been heard by Irish firesides for hundreds of years. This is a rare opportunity to meet some of the leading keepers of the Gael in their own homes and in the magical Irish countryside.
Meet with Ireland’s foremost living seanachaí (storyteller) and gain an insight into Ireland’s oldest oral art-form. Travel the bi-roads and discover the ancient sacred places of faery trees and forts where magical stories abound.
The harp is synonymous with Ireland’s age-old music and culture. Meet with Ireland’s foremost exponent of the ancient wire strung harp – not only a virtuoso player but also a maker of these beautiful instruments. Relax and enjoy a private recital in the harper’s home.
The uilleann piper
The evocative sound of the uilleann/Irish pipes is a sound that reflects the Irish psyche and landscape, from the loneliest slow airs to the rousing energy of lively Irish jigs. Let the pipemaker take you on a musical journey from raw wood to the finest finished instrument.
The real Connemara
Experience the real Connemara, far from the tourist trail. Meet people who have been shaped by this exposed landscape and learn about the skills and crafts that have allowed this resilient race to survive here over the centuries. An intimate experience of one of the last bastions of Gaelic music, language and culture.
We have curated a choice of two itineraries, dependent on your love of the land or sea. Each day will include three experiences with our artisan partners, privately hosted by Ashford Castle’s Experience Ambassador.
The basket maker
Meet the most accomplished custodian of Ireland’s oldest craft. Over time his skills have evolved to make both traditional baskets and contemporary art pieces. Learn the skills and patience required as you help to weave a basket under the weaver’s personal tutelage.
The taste of Connemara
Enjoy a lunch of local epicurean delights from the Connemara coast and hillsides. Discover the story of Connemara’s food culture from the traumatic potato famine of the 19th century to the evolution of local artisan food in the present day.
Walk the lonely glens and mountains of the west of Ireland with one of its most accomplished archaeologists. Take a journey through the annals of time, visiting ancient and sacred sites where our historian will bring the lives of the people who lived here alive.
Day trips from Ashford Castle
From ancient ruins right on our doorstep to historic manor houses and the spectacular Connemara National Park, we are fortunate to have some of Ireland’s finest sights within easy day-trip distance.
Also known as the Royal Abbey of Cong, is a historic site located at Cong Co. Mayo. The ruins of the former Augustinian abbey mostly date to the 13th century and have been described as featuring some of finest examples of medieval ecclesiastical architecture in Ireland.
The grounds of the abbey also contain a monks’ fishing house, probably built in the 15th/16th century on an island in the River Cong leading towards nearby Lough Corrib.
The house is built on a platform of stones over a small arch which allows the river to flow underneath the floor. There is a trapdoor in the floor in which the fish may have been kept fresh.
Lough Measc Distillery
The distillery is located on the shores of Lough Mask. The main products are Loch Measc Single Malt Whiskey, Loch Measc Gin and Loch Measc Vodka. Tours of the Distillery are available and must be booked in advance.
Sheep dog demonstrations
Joyce Country Sheepdogs is part of a family run farm located in Connemara, Co. Galway on the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland. They offer you the opportunity to visit a working hill sheep farm and watch the Border Collie sheepdogs herding Connemara Blackface sheep.
Croagh Patrick, nicknamed the Reek, is a 764 m mountain and an important site of pilgrimage in County Mayo. It is 8 km from Westport, above the villages of Murrisk and Lecanvey. It is climbed by pilgrims on Reek Sunday every year, which is the last Sunday in July.
Turlough House & Country museum
The National Museum of Ireland – Country Life is located in Turlough village, 8 km (5.0 mi) northeast of Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland. The museum exhibits the way of life of rural Irish people between 1850 and 1950 and is in the grounds of Turlough Park House.
Westport & Westport House
Westport is also an excellent place to visit, given its wide variety of historic, natural, and charming attractions. Westport House is a beautiful manor home where visitors can tour almost 300 years of Irish heritage and explore the 400 acre grounds.
Great Western Greenway
The Great Western Greenway is a greenway rail trail in County Mayo, Ireland. It is 42 kilometres long and begins in Westport and ends in Achill, passing through the towns of Newport and Mulranny as it runs along the coast of Clew Bay. It is an off-road trail for use by cyclists and walkers with beautiful countryside and coastal views.
Connemara National Park
Situated in the West of Ireland in County Galway, Connemara National Park covers some 2,000 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands.
Some of the Park’s mountains, namely Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack and Muckanaght, are part of the famous Twelve Bens or Beanna Beola range. Connemara National Park was established and opened to the public in 1980.
Much of the present Park lands formed part of the Kylemore Abbey Estate and the Letterfrack Industrial School, the remainder having been owned by private individuals.
The southern part of the Park was at one time owned by Richard (Humanity Dick) Martin who helped to form the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals during the early 19th century. The Park lands are now wholly owned by the State and managed solely for National Park purpose
Diamond Hill is a two-hour loop walk in Connemara, this route follows gravel paths, wooden boardwalk and steps up the slopes of Diamond Hill itself.
Strenuous but satisfying, the trail through Connemara National Park climbs up to Diamond Hill’s summit (400m) and showcases the breadth of Connemara’s coastline – including the idyllic islands of Inishturk, Inishbofin and Inishark and pretty Ballynakill Harbour.
The sweeping views from the summit also stretch to the majestic Twelve Bens, Mweelrea and Tully Mountains.
The Aran Islands are 3 rocky isles guarding the mouth of Galway Bay, in western Ireland. They are known for their ancient sites.
You can get to the Aran Islands by passenger ferry from Rossaveal which is about an hour west of Galway City. You cannot bring a car across on the ferry. Weather permitting; the ferries from Rossaveal go year-round.
Killary Harbour & boat tours
Killary Harbour is a fjord located in the west of Ireland, in northern Connemara, and the border between counties Galway and Mayo runs down its centre. Killary Fjord Boat Tours Sail an 9-mile inlet and enjoy uninterrupted views of some of the finest scenery in the west of Ireland
Explore Co. Mayo
Often described as Ireland’s most captivating county, Mayo is home to ecclesiastical ruins, secluded islands, hidden bays and spectacular coastal walks… all just moments from Ashford Castle.
Moyne Abbey has to be one of most impressive ecclesiastical ruins in Mayo and it has been recognised as a National Monument. It was built by the Burke family and consecrated in 1462, it is located north of Ballina on the west side of Killala Bay. Like its neighbour, Rosserk Friary, it was burnt by Sir Richard Bingham, Elizabeth I of England’s governor of Connacht, in 1590 in reformationist zeal.
The Coffin ship
This piece of art by John Behan is called “Coffin Ship”. It is an impressive monument showing a ship full of skeletons – a symbol to remember all the people who died on the ships to America when they wanted to escape Ireland’s potato famine in the 19th century. The monument was unveiled in 1997 to mark the 150th anniversary of the famine.
Achill Island is the largest island off the coast of Ireland, and is situated off the west coast. It has a small population of 2,700 in an area of 148 km2 (57 sq mi). Achill is absolutely beautiful and is attached to the mainland by Michael Davitt Bridge. This island is well worth a visit and is a worthy entry to the top 10 places to visit in County Mayo.
This site draws some resemblance to Glendalough with its green hills on each side. The area is bogland which is uninhabited except for the intrepid sheep who seem quite content to have it to themselves.
The bog grass has a beautiful reddish hue. Many small waterfalls flow down both sides of the valley. This is a beautiful site which can be hard to find but well worth the journey!
Clew Bay is a natural ocean bay in County Mayo which contains Ireland’s best example of sunken drumlins. The bay is overlooked by the famous Croagh Patrick Mountain to the south and the Nephin Range mountains of North Mayo. The view from above is absolutely sensational as you can see from the photo. It is deserving of a place on the top 10 places to see in County Mayo.
Keel Beach is a beautiful beach, one of Mayo’s finest. It is quite popular with tourists and locals as a surfing location. If you are not into surfing, you can still enjoy the beautiful sand and excellent views. This is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s hidden gems and a worthy entry to the top 10.
Just a few miles north of Ballycastle village in County Mayo is the windswept outcrop of Downpatrick Head. This is the perfect place to park up and stretch your legs with an invigorating coastal walk.
The name Downpatrick is derived from a time when St Patrick himself founded a church here. You can still see the ruins of the church building, a stone cross and holy well here today.
This was once a popular pilgrim destination, and today the crowds still gather here on the last Sunday of July – known as Garland Sunday – to hear mass at this sacred site. The site has a statue close to the cliff edge dedicated to the patron saint. It is one of the most amazing places you can ever visit in Ireland.
Croagh Patrick is a well-known mountain and an important site of pilgrimage in County Mayo. You can find it 8 kilometres (5 mi) from Westport, above the villages of Murrisk and Lecanvey.
It is the third highest mountain in County Mayo after Mweelrea and Nephin. If you visit, you will be joined by pilgrims who make the journey which Saint Patrick himself once did. Aside from the religious aspect, it is a beautiful mountain with awesome views!
Keem Bay is an absolutely phenomenal site located past Dooagh village in the west of Achill Island in County Mayo. This bay was formerly the site of a basking shark fishery and a British army lookout post (to the bay’s south).
Keem Bay is a heavenly secluded valley at the very western tip of Achill Island. It is extremely popular during warmer months when the strand is a magnet for beach-goers and those interested in scenic walks. This place is our favourite spot in County Mayo.