Ashford Castle Mayo


Straight out of the book of fairy tales or even the set for one of the most romantic of Hollywood movies, nevermind just sheer luxury, Ashford Castle Hotel, located in Mayo overlooking Lough Corrib has it all.


Dating from the middle ages, the castle is only 40 minutes from Galway City and boasts stunning lake and river views, houses staterooms featuring four poster beds, chandeliers, high ceilings, stand alone bathtubs, open fire places and soft furnishings. Now you’re talking.


And if you can be tempted from your room, indulge in a spot of dining from the seven course tasting menu. If you can move afterwards, try your hand at a little falconry or archery, straight from Hogswarth. And for the sporty types (yawn) there is clay pigeon shooting, fishing, horseback riding, cycling, tennis or even cruising.


Medieval, Gothic, Victorian, chateau-esque even. Take your precious time getting to the westernmost post on the edge of Europe through the wilds of Connemara, renowned to this day for fishing and shooting. Even the Prince of Wales, George 5th, came for three days and ended up staying for 3 months.


And from the bygone cinematic era of John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara (whose strong association with Irish coffee no less), who put Cong on the map and continue to thrill many an old romantic with classic love story so dramatically told in The Quiet Man. Followed some decades later by yet another actor, who stayed with his famous wife Nancy at the castle in 1984.


Open fires, hidden nooks and crannies to lose yourself (maybe even your party) in, vast open fireplaces, burning turf from the nearby mountain bogs. You can almost smell the centuries of history in the walls, And if you do venture outside, take care to explore the beautiful Lough Corrib with its many islands, ancient monastic settlements and wild Salmon and Trout fishing.


The castle has played host to countless stars through the years, including John Wayne, Princess Grace of Monaco, John Lennon, George Harrison, Edward Kennedy and Brad Pitt. Pierce Brosnan, even Oscar Wilde!