ASHFORD CASTLE, IRELAND Ireland is now open for fully vaccinated British travellers without quarantine

ASHFORD CASTLE, IRELAND Ireland is now open for fully vaccinated British travellers without quarantine

Now that the Emerald Isle is open to vaccinated British travellers, look to Ashford Castle for the epitome of Irish hospitality, heritage and glamour. This remarkable 800-year-old castle, widely recognised as Ireland’s top hotel, once home to the Guinness family and one of the most magical places in the world to stay. Carefully restored over a five-year period, Red Carnation Hotels worked closely with local experts and artisans to bring the Castle’s storied walls to life, proudly celebrating its rich heritage across every part of the guest experience.

A Thrilling Outdoor Menu of Country Pursuits & Activities

As one of Ireland’s finest sporting estates, created over several generations by the de Burgo, Bingham, Browne and Guinness families, the 350 acres lends itself perfectly to a selection of exhilarating activities to suit all tastes. There are many outdoor sports guests can take part in during their stay including horse riding, tennis, cycling, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding golf, clay shooting and archery.

Other exhilarating activities on offer include:

  • Falconry: discover the ancient form of falconry at the oldest established Falconry School in Ireland
  • Fishing: Ashford Castle’s 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. Guests can go out on a trip with Frank and catch their lunch, which will be expertly cooked by the hotel’s chefs.
  • Lake Cruising: a magnificent way to explore the pristine surroundings and soak up the scenery at leisure.
  • Zip Lining & Tree Climbing: both adults and younger guests will enjoy this aerial adventure through the woodland via different obstacles and ziplines.
  • Walking & Hiking: local walking guide Michael Gibbon shares with guests the best tracks and trails to explore in the Connemara area for every fitness level.

Extraordinary Irish Experiences

At Ashford Castle, the connection to the land runs deep. It offers a variety of bespoke experiences that bring this beautiful corner of Ireland to life. From exclusive visits to the studios of local craftspeople, to a private recital from Ireland’s most prominent traditional piper, or a private dining experience in the cottage that featured in the movie, The Quiet Man, experiences are designed to immerse guess into local life and the Irish countryside.

Meet The Makers

Ashford Castle’s Experience Ambassador hosts a special collection of experiences designed to give guests the opportunity to meet the flagbearers of traditional Irish culture and learn more about the people who are keeping important local skills alive. Guests will be welcomed into the homes and workshops of different artisan partners of the hotel – the experiences are under four different themes; Irish food, indigenous craft, music and story, and the real Connemara.

The different itineraries include a visit to three different artisans. For craft & design, see the skills involved by independent blacksmiths, furniture makers, stone carvers, ceramicists, textile designers and contemporary carpenters. For keen foodies, guests can meet the people who are at the forefront of Irish artisan food culture in the West of Ireland. The ‘Atlantic Flavour’ itinerary takes in how to make Irish soda bread, go on a foraging expedition along the seashore and follow the life of a shellfish farmer and try the freshest of shellfish straight from the sea after a short boat ride. Ireland is also the land of milk and honey and an alternative foodie itinerary takes in a visit to a fourth-generation bee keeper, an Irish cheese-making family and their herd of Fresian cows and finally to a passionate chocolatier, who will teach guests how to make Irish truffles.

Dining Experiences

Ashford Castle offers a variety of different dining experiences to thrill and surprise guests throughout their stay across the hotel’s six restaurants and three bars. Ingredients are grown or foraged in the castle’s gardens or strictly sourced from as many local producers on the West Coast so menus can reflect the culinary history of the local area as much as possible. The ingredients are then transformed into delicious works of art in the George V restaurant at the skilled hands of Executive Chef Philippe Farineau and his team. Afternoon tea is a real occasion in the elegantly designed Connaught Room, while the ancient Dungeon is a striking location to dine on traditional Irish fare. Artisan cocktails are served in The Price of Wales Bar and wine tastings can be enjoyed in the castle’s atmospheric 16th century cellars.


Red Carnation Hotels has poured creativity into every exquisite room and suite, inspired by Ashford Castle’s 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 the Castle’s verdant grounds and the lake beyond. The elegant suites are masterpieces, named after some of the Castle’s most famous past guests, from Senator Kennedy to President Reagan.

Wellness & Spa

Combining ancient wisdom with modern expertise, the impressive spa aims to leaves guests feeling nurtured, purified and pampered. There are five treatment rooms and a large relaxation pool, housed within a striking bronze conservatory overlooking Lough Corrib. A traditional hammam and essence-infused steam room provide deep release and cleansing through the use of heat. The gym’s ceiling-to-floor windows offer breath-taking, elevated views over Lough Corrib from each piece of high-tech fitness equipment, bringing the outdoors in. A personal trainer is also on hand to create tailored programmes and give one-to-one sessions.

The Hideaway Cottage

Perfect for a romantic weekend getaway, Ashford Castle’s Hideaway Cottage allows you to relish the tranquillity and natural beauty of the estate. This charming property is positioned right on the shores of Lough Corrib and serves as the ultimate secluded retreat. Refurbished to the highest standards, the cottage pays homage to the heritage of the estate with historic touches such as original stonework and fireplace lintels from the castle. This former boathouse dates back to the Guinness era and is situated a stone’s throw from the Castle, surrounded by private gardens and with private access. Guests will arrive to a welcome basket and a fully stocked bar. The cottage also comes with Jack Murphy Jackets and wellington boots, bicycles, and access to all of the hotel’s its 350-acre estate’s amenities for the duration of the guest’s stay.

ACCESS: Ashford Castle is best accessed from Knock Airport, however transfers are also possible from Shannon and Dublin Airports.