One of the most exclusive luxury hotels in the World is Ashford Castle. Ashford Castle is located in Cong, Co Mayo, Ireland.

This 13th Century Castle is hidden in over 350 acres of wooded parkland and stands as a monument to a fascinating history of days gone by. Ashford Castle was once the estate of the Guineness Family. It opened its doors as an exclusive hotel in 1939.

Ashford Castle is 30 minutes from Galway city, and within driving distance of Shannon International Airport.

You can enjoy a wide range of relaxing or exciting activities that include:

• Spa treatments
• Fly a hawk in the School of Falconry
• Take a picnic in the Walled Garden
• Catch Wild Trout or Salmon in one of the most famous fisheries in Ireland
• Enjoy dining in all four unique dining areas, each with their own imitable style and ambience
• Have cocktails, liqueurs and brandies in the Prince of Wales Cocktail Bar
• Their “Dungeon Bar” features an informal atmosphere where you might relax in the company of the resident harpist and singer, or join in the nightly sing-songs. Most evenings feature an Irish Show including ballads and storytelling in the company of resident entertainers.

Each guest room is individually designed to provide stylish personal comforts. Features include:

• Marble fittings of bathrooms
• Sumptuous coordinated fabrics and furnishings
• Many of the rooms retain their original features
• All rooms are equipped with modern amenities including Broadband connectivity and Interactive TV

The four unique dining areas are:

• The George V Room: Named following the visit of the Prince of Wales, who subsequently became George V of England. Features are breakfast and a table d’hote dinner menu. It is Ashford’s main dining room. Guests can enjoy the pristine period décor and choose from a world-class menu of modern Irish and international cuisine. It is a setting in which to enjoy the traditional art of elegant dining.
• The Connaught Room: Is the most beautiful and intimate room in the castle and showcases the very best in Irish produce. There are spectacular views of Lough Corrib, delicate wood carvings and a spectacular hand-carved Inglenook fireplace. The tasting menu is available as a five – or seven – course menu and is changed regularly according to season and availability. Accompanying each tasting menu is a wine suggestion offering a different glass of wine for each course.
• The Drawing Room: Serves lunch, afternoon tea and offers a more casual evening dinner option. It is the perfect place to relax without formality. The Drawing Room features a selection of sandwiches, salads, hearty soups or foods more substantial. The Irish stew is a favorite of many who visit the Ashford Castle and is made with lean lamb and local vegetables served in a flavorful broth.
• Cullen’s at The Cottage: Named after the late Peter Cullen, offers a bistro-style menu with a relaxed atmosphere. Cullen’s allows an informal option outside the castle, while still on the Ashford Estate. It is just a short walk across the River Cong. Choose a lobster from the tank or enjoy a light salad.

Health and Beauty

Ashford Castle offers guests the ultimate in pampering. In their health and beauty facilities, they offer:

• Aroma-Stone Massage: Top to toe aromatic hot stone massage
• Aroma-Luxe Massage: Aromatic massage – energizing and relaxing for one hour
• Back Massage
• Back, Neck, Shoulders, Face and Scalp Massage
• Swedish massage – Full body massage that relaxes tense and contracted muscles, improves circulation, lymphatic drainage and muscle tone. Stimulates nerve endings relieving muscular pain and fatigue

Estate Activities include:

• Fishing: An Orvis indorsed property located one the banks of Lough Corrib, one of the most famous fisheries in all of Ireland
• Falconry: An ancient art with the reputation of being the oldest sport in the world, and originating in the Far East around 2000 BC, as a means of catching food. The exclusive collection of birds of prey is open only by appointment.
• Golf: A beautiful 9 hole 2996 yards par 35 parkland course
• Equestrian: The Ashford Equestrian Center is situated within easy walking distance of the Castle on the Ashford Estate
• Clay Shooting
• Archery
• Lake Cruising: See St Patrick’s Church built by St. Patrick in 450AD, Europe’s second oldest Christian inscription – 470 AD, Ornate Augustine church built by the monks of Cong in 1178

Ashford Castle, located deep in the heartland of Mayo, and set against a backdrop of forests, lakes and mountains feels like a place where time stands still, however, the castle you will see today has undergone enormous change since its beginnings nearly eight centuries ago.

Disclaimer: The URL address in the resource box of this article is not associated with Ashford Castle or any of its employees. This article is offered as a resource for vacation planning of the castles of Europe.

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© 2007 Connie Limon All Rights Reserved

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Written by: Connie Limon. To learn more about touring the Castles of Europe visit: To submit articles and for a variety of FREE reprint articles visit