The Ashford Castle located on the shores of the Laugh Corrib in west Ireland is a perfect place to stay and partake in a royal experience. The Ashord Estate is located 45 minutes from Galway City. The castle is over 800 years old, and was once the estate of Lord Ardilaun and the Guinness family. The castle opened as a luxury hotel in 1939. It has entertained many prominent celebrities from Oscar Wilde, Monaco’s Prince Rainier lll, Princess Grace, and Hollywood royalty such as Brad Pitt and Pierce Brosnan.
The Ashford Castle was recently given a glamorous restorative makeover thanks to its new owner the Red Carnation Hotel Collection. The 350-acre estate reopens at the end of March 2015. The rooms are fit for a king with beds dressed in Egyptian cotton linens and walls swathed in rich fabrics. There are 71 rooms, six state rooms, and five suites. Each of the room’s décor is distinct and filled with beautiful antiques that span the centuries. Ted Kennedy was once a guest in Stateroom 224, that includes an antique Italian bed embellished with cherubs, a Flemish-tapestry-covered armchair, and an eighteenth-century Spanish walnut armoire. A mahogany Georgian wardrobe and four-poster bed are among the furnishings in Suite 221, where President Ronald Reagan once stayed. There is a lovely drawing room that conveys modest elegance with furniture upholstered in flocked blue velvet as one of the many public places in the castle. The George V dining room is mirrored with panels above the wainscoting that are now enhanced by 11 Waterford crystal chandeliers.
The castle also has a great cinematic experience to offer in a theatre filled with 32 red velvet armchairs. Guest can watch different movies throughout the week, or watch The Quite Man. The Quite Man was filmed in the adjacent village of Cong. John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara stayed in Rooms 500 and 408 while shooting the movie. There is also a new billiards room where guests can visit the bar that is known for its whiskey and brandy. The room opens to a rooftop terrace that serves Cuban cigars. During renovations, a secret passage was discovered which has now been turned into a wine cellar. Guests can now sample wines while inside the 16th century tunnel. The Ashford Estate offers an array of activities, from Orvis fly-fishing to Ireland’s first school of falconry.