Friday, July 17, 2015

By Tom Sykes Ashford Castle (Photo: Ashford Castle)The Wild Atlantic
Way is the evocative name given by locals to the far western edge of
Ireland.
While this accurately conjures up the windswept beauty of the ragged
coastline, don’t let it fool you into thinking your accommodation will
necessarily involve hunkering down in turf-walled houses with
dentally-challenged crones gnawing on a crust of soda bread.
There are, of course, many comfortable hotels in the West of Ireland, but
there is perhaps none so extraordinary or lavish as Ashford Castle, an
imposing fantasy of crenellations once owned by the Guinness family (think
Ireland’s Rockefellers), which has reopened after a $50 million
refurbishment.
Related: Pretend You’re Royalty: Stay in the Most Beautiful Palace and
Castle Hotels Around the World A room at Ashford Castle (Photo: Ashford
Castle)The extraordinary monument to Victorian excess — the traces of
the original medieval castle are almost impossible to discern beneath the
1850s extensions – sits in an unrivaled position on the edge of Lough
Corrib, Ireland’s largest inland lake.
There are breathtaking views of the lake from each of the stunningly
refurbished bedrooms, which feature magnificent four-poster beds the size of
garage doors.
The local village of Cong is famous for having been used as the principal
location in John Ford’s movie The Quiet Man, and there are countless
homages to the film throughout the town; barely a wall is free of some
inscription or other testifying to its importance in the 1952 John Wayne
picture.
Ashford Castle itself features in the movie as the ‘Big House,’
and one channel on the in-room entertainment system is dedicated to the
classic production (although modern audiences might find the
wife-beating-played-for-laughs element of the film somewhat less than
charming).
Related: The Dreamiest Bed and Breakfast in Ireland Cliffs of Moher
(Photo: Jennifer Boyer/Flickr)
The location makes this an ideal base
from which to explore large sections of Mayo and Galway, key sections of the
Wild Atlantic Way.
The legendary Cliffs of Moher are an easy two-hour drive to the south, and
Croagh Patrick mountain is 90 minutes to the north.
Between those two iconic destinations there are enough activities, beaches,
and jaw-dropping views to keep a tourist occupied for a good five-day stay.
But visitors may find a reluctance to get into the car, as there is so much to
do at Ashford castle itself, aside from the usual country hotel offerings of
pool, gym and tennis courts.
 Fishermen, for example, can spend the summer months in the company of a
ghillie, as fishing experts are called here, in search of trout — float
lazily in one of the hotel’s traditional wooden rowboats on the lake or
cast off from the river which feeds it.
Give falconry a go.
(Photo: Ashford Castle)A visit to the remarkable school of
falconry on the hotel’s grounds — where you can
experience the thrill of a bird of prey swooping down from a tree to land on
your gloved arm — is highly recommended, and not just for readers of
the recent best seller H is For Hawk.
For the very bravest, we suggest shunning the delights of the swimming pool in
favor of a swim in Lough Corrib lake itself.
Related: Stunning Scenery From Ireland You Don’t Want to MissThere are
also some wonderful forest walks on the Castle grounds, including one route
that leads hikers through sunlight-dappled woodlands to a humble wooden chalet
with a commanding view of the lake.
It was built by a former incumbent of the property, Lord Ardilaun, for the
enjoyment of his wife.
After his death in 1915, Lady Ardilaun raised an obelisk to his memory next
to the chalet.
That in particular is perhaps one of the most romantic spots in Ireland
– ask the kitchen to make you a picnic to enjoy there as you gaze out
on the stunning view of Lough Corrib and its islands, enjoying the amazing
vista just as Lord and Lady Ardilaun did over 100 years ago.
WATCH: I Want to Suck Your Blood (Cocktail) in Whitby, England Let
World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
 Watch World traveling club Travel’s original series "A Broad
Abroad.
" Learn more about our travel policy.
You can stay at this amazing, refurbished castle in Ireland.
.
The location makes this an ideal base from which to explore large sections of
Mayo and Galway, key sections of the Wild Atlantic Way.
The legendary Cliffs of Moher are an easy two-hour drive to the south, and
Croagh Patrick mountain is 90 minutes to the north.
Between those two iconic destinations there are enough activities, beaches,
and jaw-dropping views to keep a tourist occupied for a good five-day stay.
But visitors may find a reluctance to get into the car, as there is so much to
do at Ashford castle itself, aside from the usual country hotel offerings of
pool, gym and tennis courts.
 Fishermen, for example, can spend the summer months in the company of a
ghillie, as fishing experts are called here, in search of trout — float
lazily in one of the hotel’s traditional wooden rowboats on the lake or
cast off from the river which feeds it.
Give falconry a go.
(Photo: Ashford Castle)A visit to the remarkable school of
falconry on the hotel’s grounds — where you can
experience the thrill of a bird of prey swooping down from a tree to land on
your gloved arm — is highly recommended, and not just for readers of
the recent best seller H is For Hawk.
For the very bravest, we suggest shunning the delights of the swimming pool in
favor of a swim in Lough Corrib lake itself.
Related: Stunning Scenery From Ireland You Don’t Want to MissThere are
also some wonderful forest walks on the Castle grounds, including one route
that leads hikers through sunlight-dappled woodlands to a humble wooden chalet
with a commanding view of the lake.
It was built by a former incumbent of the property, Lord Ardilaun, for the
enjoyment of his wife.
After his death in 1915, Lady Ardilaun raised an obelisk to his memory next
to the chalet.
That in particular is perhaps one of the most romantic spots in Ireland
– ask the kitchen to make you a picnic to enjoy there as you gaze out
on the stunning view of Lough Corrib and its islands, enjoying the amazing
vista just as Lord and Lady Ardilaun did over 100 years ago.
WATCH: I Want to Suck Your Blood (Cocktail) in Whitby, England Let
World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
 Watch World traveling club Travel’s original series "A Broad
Abroad.
" Learn more about our travel policy.
You can stay at this amazing, refurbished castle in Ireland.

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