Ashford Castle Ireland is one of the main landmarks in tranquil County Mayo, and should your budget allow, you can stay there overnight. Past guests include many famous personalities, John Lennon and President Ronald Reagan among them, and you might be interested to know that British actor Pierce Brosnan chose it for the site of his 2001 wedding. It isn't hard to understand why Ashford Castle attracts so many rich and famous guests. The iconic beauty of the edifice is hard to deny, and the overall setting is only enhanced by Lough Corrib. The second largest lake in Ireland, Lough Corrib is more than just a scenic enhancer. Boating on this body of water can be a joy for Ashford Castle Hotel guests, and should you enjoy fishing, both trout and salmon are among the most common catches.
Ashford Castle history began with the structure's founding in 1228. The founding party was the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family, and while this family built other castles in the area, Ashford served as their primary retreat for more than 300 years. In 1589, Ashford Castle Ireland fell into the hands of an English Lord named Sir Richard Bingham, and a fortified enclave was added. More changes came when the Oranmore and Browne family established the Ashford Castle estate in the early 1700s, and in 1852, the Guinness family starting adding their own touches. Thanks to Sir Benjamin lee Guiness, the estate grew to encompass an impressive 26,000 acres and two large extensions that boast lovely Victorian designs were erected. More Ashford Castle owners came and went once the Guiness family lost its ownership rights, and ever since 1939, the structure's main role has been that of a five-star hotel. That's not to overlook its acting career, however. The Ashford Castle grounds featured prominently in the 1951 film The Quiet Man, which starred John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.
The vast grounds of the mostly medieval Ashford Castle Hotel feature lush lawns, and in spring and summer lovely gardens start to come alive. Spring is also when the resident wildlife fill the dawn air with their morning songs. Much of the wildlife is attracted by Lough Corrib and the extensive forested woodlands that are part of the castle ground, and among the creatures that you might see and hear during a visit are otters, stoat, mink, bats, frogs, and hawks. The Ashford Castle Hotel features an equestrian center, and it should be noted that guided horseback riding tours of the grounds can be arranged there. These tours usually last about an hour, though more experienced riders can usually request a longer ride.
When you're not touring the splendid grounds by horseback during your stay at the Ashford Castle Ireland, there will be many other things to do. Perhaps you'll be tempted to tee it up for a round of golf on the nine-hole course, or maybe you and a friend will challenge each other to a tennis match. When getting out on the water is what you have in mind during your Ashford Castle stay, lake cruises that feature a visit to the island of St. Patrick are easy to arrange, and angling enthusiasts can always book a fishing trip. May and June are the most prime months for trout fishing, while June or early July is when the salmon fishing is at its best.
The Ashford Castle Hotel facilities are quite complete, so guests should have little trouble staying busy when they have down time to fill. Two excellent restaurants provide great places to dine, and should you only be in the mood for some drinks, there are two bars to choose from. A luxury spa caters to those who like to be pampered, and guests are free to take advantage of the hotel's gym and sauna. Impressive meeting and event facilities can also be found at the Ashford Castle Hotel, and concierge service is available for business and leisure travelers alike.
No discussion about the Ashford Castle Ireland would be complete without covering the guest units. There are 83 total rooms and suites to choose from at the Ashford Castle Hotel, and they are easily among the most sumptuous guest units in all of Ireland. Each room and suite boasts an elegant decor that is reflective of the hotel's historic and privileged nature, and modern conveniences aren't lacking. Interactive TV and high-speed Internet access are among the more modern amenities, and you might also appreciate the mini bars and hair dryers. The Master Suites are the most exclusive guest units at the Ashford Castle Ireland, though guests should find that each and every guest unit has more than its fair share of merits.