This week we check out the beautiful town of Mayo in the west of Ireland. We give you a snap shot of the history of the town, the magnificent Ashford Castle with its five-star accommodation, dining, facilities and much much more….
The aesthetic town of Mayo is situated in the province of Connacht and is the third largest county in Ireland. The Irish word for Mayo is “Contae Mhaigh Eo” which means “Plain of the yew trees”. Mayo is encapsulated on the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean and borders Galway to the south, Roscommon to the east and Sligo to the northeast. The river Moy in Mayo is famous for its salmon fishing but Mayo is best known for the magnificent Achill Island which lies off its coast.
Mayo has extensive historical significance and an abundance of archaeological vestiges from the Neolithic/megalithic period such as sizeable, extravagant stone burial tombs used to bury their leaders and many significant stone circles.
Nestled into the stunning Mayo countryside is the impressive 350 acre, Ashford Castle. This medieval castle is now a five-star luxury hotel on the shore of Lough Corrib and was once owned by the Guinness family. The castle was built in 1228 on a monastic site by the Anglo-Norman House of Burke. After passing through many hands over the centenaries, the castle was finally bought by Red Carnation Hotels in 2013.
The walls of the second floor gallery are lined with photographs of prominent guests who have stayed at the castle. The castle has hosted many important guests including King George V, John Lennon and Oscar Wilde, whos father William owned an estate near the Castle. The sheer aesthetical magnificence of the castle was recognised by film director John Ford, and in 1951, the film The Quiet Man staring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara was filmed on the grounds of the castle.
The Castle Hotel has 83 remarkable rooms including 6 suites and a lakeside cottage. The richly dressed rooms are a refined traditional design, each room magnificently styled with ornate beds and chandeliers while the comfort of the guest dominates each room.
The outstanding suites offer an amazing four poster king size bed while offering a dining area, adding to the expansive feel of the space. There are magnificent views of the River Corrib and Lough Corrib from the suits.
Opening in June 2016, the stylish Lakeside cottage is the definitive private romantic retreat for those wishing to avail of a Luxury Deluxe Honeymoon Tours Ireland package. Exquisitely designed rooms include a stunning fireplace, a private deck with unequalled views of the lake.
Dining at Ashford Castle
Ashford Castle offers a great selection of dining experiences including four dining rooms; George V Dining Room, The Dungeon Restaurant, Cullen’s at the Cottage, Wilde’s at The Lodge, The Castle Wine Cellars, or how about Afternoon Tea in the stylish Connaught Room.
The George V Dining room
This magnificent dinging room was named after the Prince of Whales visited the castle in 1906. True to form, the interior of the restaurant is simply stunning and incorporates rich panelled walls and Waterford Crystal chandeliers which present a sense of grandeur during your dining experience. To add to the relaxing and sophisticated atmosphere, a resident pianist plays soothingly in the distance. This restaurant offers incomparable Irish dishes created by award-winning chef Philippe Farineau, complemented by a large range of wines. Some dishes we would highly recommend are the West Coast Cured Blue Fin Tuna, Home Smoked Duck & White Asparagus or my favourite, The Land Angus Beef.
Also, Ashford Castle offer a second dining experience in the Dungeon restaurant. This exclusive brasserie-style restaurant offers a range of traditional Irish gastronomy in a unique setting with magnificent stone ceilings. Starters are simply divine and include Warm Crab Claws and Mrs Tollman’s Billi Bi Mussel Soup (to die for). From the mains, our favourites include the Slow Braised Lamb, the Slow Braised Beef and Craft Stout or Organic Clare Island Salmon.
Cullen’s at the Cottage
Additionally, Ashford Castle offers a third dining experience at Cullen’s. This exquisite traditional thatched cottage creates a casual feel in which to savour global and native flavours from two menus; A La Carte Menu and Group Dinner Menu. The restaurant is surrounded by a stunning garden and pleasant patio offering awe-inspiring views of Ashford Castle. The extensive selection of mouth-watering starter dishes include Prawn & Lobster Cocktail, Seared Tiger Prawn Tails and Pan Fried Salmon Cake. From the exceptional array of mains, we thoroughly recommend the Fillet of Hake in Beer Batter, Fresh Lobster and the Angus Rib Eye Steak.
Wilde’s at The Lodge
The Wilde is an amazing restaurant serving modern Irish fare in a superb venue. This award winning restaurant offers outstanding dishes with unbelievable flavours and qualities, all made from local produce. Each dish at this restaurant is incredible but as always we like to recommend a few favourites such as the Salty Cod, the Mayo Sea Spray Lamb and the Feather Blade of Beef.
The Castle Wine Cellars
A wine tasting is the perfect way to complete a luxurious stay at an Irish castle. Ashford Castle offers private wine tastings and wine dinners in the secret pathways of the castle offering a snug atmosphere. There is an vast wine list from which to choose vintage wines and global selections. There are a number of other dining and refreshment rooms to enjoy at the castle including the Billiards room, where you can enjoy a game of billiards or a relaxing drink in a outstanding room furnished with antique furniture.
There is also a Cigar Terrace, The Inglelock Room & the Connaught Room for private dining. Additionally, The Prince of Wales Bar is ideal to enjoy a pint of Guinness while The Drawing Room is perfect for enjoying afternoon coffee.
If you enjoy Afternoon Tea, the elegant Connaught Room offers this service with astronomical views of the grounds. Guests can choose from a vast array of specialty teas, finger sandwiches, warm freshly baked scones with cream & home-made jam coupled with pastries & cupcakes.
The Spa at Ashford Castle
The Spa, housed in a striking bronze conservatory, is an idyllic setting to enjoy a bit of pampering. The spa is the epitome of Zen and tranquility and boasts an array of features including magnificent chandeliers and a unique mural, called the Tree of Life, spanning the length of the pool.
There are five incredible treatment rooms, a steam room and a fitness centre. The Spa uses Africa, Voya and Elemis in its wide assortment of treatments including massages, holistic therapies, facials, hand & feet treatments, hair & eye treatments, body therapies & wraps and finally scrubs.
Activities at Ashford Castle
We are sure that whatever treatment you choose at the spa it will leave you invigorated and up to trying some of the many activities that the castle has to offer guests. The grounds of the castle offer the perfect backdrop to try your hand at horse riding, fishing, falconry and shooting or if you’d prefer you can golf, cycle or kayak.
A stay at Ashford Castle offers guests an array of extraordinary experiences that they will savour for the rest of their live. The staff at the castle go above and beyond to ensure that your stay at Ashford Castle is the most memorable vacation you will ever experience bar none.
Well that beings us to the end of our tour of Mayo and the glorious Ashford Castle in the idyllic west of Ireland. If you are interested in booking a tour that includes a stay at the celebrated Ashford Castle, then simply contact us at the link below.
Alternatively, you can call us toll from free from the USA & Canada on 1888 793 0416.
All the best,
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