Photos courtesy of Ashford Castle
Cong, County Mayo
Tel: ++353 (0) 94 954 6003
Fax: ++353 (0) 94 954 6260
83 rooms, including 5 junior suites (staterooms) and 6 suites
Double rooms: 285–785 euros
Staterooms: 605–1925 euros
Suites: 1050–4000 euros
Rates include breakfast, service, and tax.
Open: all year
Cong is about 50 km (30 miles) north of Galway between Lough Mask and Lough Corrib.
On site: golf; horseback
riding; health center; fishing;
clay pigeon shooting; archery;
Nearby: hiking; Ballintubber Abbey; Ballymagibbon Cairn at the Plain of Moytura
Yes. A church wedding is possible on the grounds or at a Catholic church on the edge of the grounds. (Actor Pierce Brosnan bought out the castle for his wedding in 2001.)
Ashford proves that a castle can rank among the finest luxury hotels in the world. Its imposing exterior, elegant interior, and lovely grounds combine to create a memorable and pleasurable vacation experience.
When the weather outside is stormy, there’s not a cozier place to be than in one of Ashford’s public rooms amongst the fireplaces, rich wood-coffered ceilings, Waterford chandeliers, enormous Chippendale mirrors, period furniture, and fine art objects.
The elegant and comfortable deluxe guest rooms boast fireplaces and carved antique furniture. Standard rooms are a little smaller. High windows and Georgian antiques grace the impressive suites, located in the old section of the castle. Many have claw-foot tubs.
For a pre-dinner drink, try the formal Prince of Wales Cocktail Bar, built in the late 1800s in honor of a visit by the Prince of Wales—the future King George V of England, or a relaxed and fun option is the Dungeon Bar, complete with evening entertainment.
The George V dining room (jacket and tie required) offers elegant dining, while the intimate Connaught Room (open May-September) presents a tasting menu based on fresh local produce, with wine pairings.
You can walk along extensive paths or stroll the lovely grounds (scenes from The Quiet Man, with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, were filmed here. Lough Corrib is famous for its trout and salmon fishing.