It's a castle. Get that? A castle. One huge, genuine, 13th Century castle. And you can stay there. What better reasons to recommend Ashford could there be?
Of course there are castles where, once you get over the battlements and Disney style restoration, you feel a little let down by the experience (Walworth, we're looking at you). Ashford castle, thankfully, is as rich an experience as the guests who loiter in the beautifully appointed lounges.
Ashford doesn't need much praising. Its awards and reputation speak volumes but it is worth pointing out that the castle comes into its own during off-peak seasons. There, amidst the quiet corridors and hallways, hundreds of years worth of history hangs like a tapestry, quiet dignity pervading the areas that would normally be taken for granted by obnoxious guests unable to converse without recourse to proclamation.
Everything one could possibly want for complete indulgence lies within easy reach. Golfing tees off (ahem) an itinerary that includes horse riding, falconry and boat trips. It is enough, however, to take a walk through the grounds and discover the walled gardens or venture towards Cong (where The Quiet Man was filmed) or even out to one of the small number of stone circles in the area. Just take a look at the photographs on the website and you'll soon find yourself ordering George to ready the carriage.
Fly to Galway airport and take a taxi or book a helicopter. www.ashford.ie
This seafood restaurant is about fifteen miles from Galway. It's in a wonderful location and is a superb place on summer evenings for a pint and some smoked salmon.
Moran's Oyster Cottage, The Weir, Kilcogan, Co. Galway.
Tel : +353 91 796 113.
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