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Review: Ashford Castle

Accommodation - Hotel

Cong, Co. Mayo, Ireland

Christmas warm up at Ashford Castle

  • By SilverTraveller kaz

    4 reviews

  • December 2016
  • Adult family
  • Relaxation

Stayed at Ashford Castle just before Christmas. This is the third time I and my family have stayed here. We booked the ‘Taste of Ireland’ package which includes Bed, Breakfast and Evening meals for two nights plus an Afternoon Tea. One evening meal is in the George V dining room.

The Castle was the former country home of the Guinness family and also hosted John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara during the filming of the epic film ‘The Quiet Man’. The nearby village of Cong has a museum dedicated to the film and a full size statue of the two actors adorn the village square.

The place is steeped in history both ancient and recent. Much work has been done to modernise the accommodation but none of the old world charm and decor has been affected.

This charm extends to the staff who are a mixture of all nationalities but seem to have all embraced the warmth and informal politeness of the Irish people. Nothing was too much trouble and the fact we keep returning is testimony to this.

In need of some exercise to work off the delicious meals included in the package, the beautiful grounds have lots of quiet footpaths to explore. As I took a stroll I came across the hotel’s ‘falconer’ guiding a bird back to the hotel, flying from tree to tree. For golfers there is a nine hole course. If you want a less energetic method of exploring then there is a cruise of the beautiful Lake Corrib complete with a enjoyable and knowledgeable ’History ’ lesson.

Going just before Christmas meant the hotel was decorated for the festivities. The extravagantly decorated tree helped get us in to the Christmas spirit as did the warm mince pies and mulled wine supplied as we checked in.

In the past we have flown to Knock airport and hired a car but we got cheap flights to Dublin, picked up a car there and drove across country which took about 4 hours.
It is an expensive hotel but you can pick up a decent deal (The Taste of Ireland package in particular) if you keep an eye on their website. I could write a lot more about this place but I think you will already appreciate this is my and my families’ favourite hotel.

This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 3 Comment(s)

  • ESW
    about 1 month ago
    Not at all boring, but a fascinating account which made me feel I was stopping there too. It sounds a wonderful place and I like the idea of a drop of whiskey with your porridge.

    We spent a couple of holidays staying in a farm up in the hills about 10 miles west of Cong and loved the area, much preferring it to Kerry. I hope to get back one day and may be even stay here....
  • kaz
    about 1 month ago
    We stayed in a Corrib Lake view room. The beds were big, warm soft and comfortable and the room was proportionally the same. The hotel has its own little cinema with room for about 50 people. Sweets and popcorn are available for you to help yourselves. Mrs Doubtfire was being shown and The Quiet Man was scheduled for later in the day.

    There is a spa and a gym which my sons used and said they were able to put in a good training session.There is no swimming pool but a small relaxation pool which is a little disappointing.

    Breakfast was buffet style with cereals, yoghurts, fruits, pastries and everything that made up a full cooked Irish breakfast. You could also order your eggs separately cooked to however you wanted. My favourite was the porridge which was served with honey and a drop of single malt Connemara whisky. I enjoyed it so much that I bought a bottle and now back home I often start the day with my porridge being accompanied by a 'small splash' of the hard stuff.

    Of the two evening meals, on one night we ate in the Dungeon restaurant and this does usual favourites like burgers but also traditional dishes such as Irish Stew and various fish dishes, all sourced locally.
    The George V dining room requires gentlemen to wear a jacket so this tells you the menu is more elaborate. Dishes include Guinea Fowl, Brill, Veal. I had the Beef fillet and it was excellent.
    Portion sizes were massive. We had afternoon tea on the day we left so it meant we had time to digest breakfast, by taking a brisk walk in the grounds. We had intended to join the morning walk of the two Irish Wolfhounds that visit the castle every day but didn't quite make it. We also had good intentions of working our way through all the cakes and scones that came with the sandwiches at afternoon tea but despite my son's and my best efforts (my wife doesn't eat a lot so I didn't include her in this) we had to ask for a multitude of assorted cakes and scones to be boxed up and these were gratefully devoured by our relatives in Dublin who we went to stay with after our trip to the castle.

    I hope this extension to the previous review is helpful and not too boring. As I sign off I raise small glass of Connemara to you and may you one day experience the charm and delight that is Ashford Castle.
  • ESW
    about 1 month ago
    We asmired this from the outside when we spent a couple of weeks in the area, but have never been inside. So I read your review with great interest. Picking up the comment in your last sentence, I wish you had written a lot more though!!

    Do tell us about your room - what it was like and what facitilties were like in it.

    Also do tell me what you had to eat - was it a typical Irish breakfast? What was the evening menu? What were portion sizes like, did it use local ingredients and was it cooked to order? How did you manage an evening meal after the afternoon tea?