We stayed at Ashford Castle during our trip to Ireland.
We traveled to Ireland for my birthday and our stay at Ashford Castle was worth every penny.
We watched The Quiet Man before we went and it plays at the castle theater and in room TVs too!
Ireland’s stunning Ashford Castle, founded by the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family in 1228, is set on 350 acres on Lough Corrib. It was expanded by the Guinness family in the mid 1800’s and turned into a hotel in 1915. A golf course was added in the 1970’s. Red Carnation purchased the property in 2013 and restored the entire property to its former glory, refurbishing 82 guest rooms, the castle’s stonework, windows, the roof, and adding a spa and fitness center.
We completely missed the front entrance (it was dark and not well-lit) and our GPS led us to the back road and gate.
A staff member offered to park our car for us and bring up our luggage. Service, y’all.
We were greeted at reception with delicious, fruity rum toddies upon check-in.
Alex found a chessboard in the Oak Room by the fireplace and challenged a sister while Aaron was squaring us away and reserving our dinner.
We were offered a lovely tour by Laura on the way to our rooms. She was always super helpful and sweet to the kids.
The hotel and restaurants, the public spaces and rooms are immaculate.
I couldn’t find a flaw in the décor or a speck of dust anywhere. They pay attention to every detail.
Waterford Crystal chandeliers hang from all the ceilings, twinkling in candlelight and highlighting the blooming orchids on every side table.
The kids were greeted with a sweet touch (Alex licked his icing off the cookie before I could get the picture!) and personalized activity packs.
All of us had robes and slippers laid out with blood orange chocolates and apple juice.
The kids loved their room. Those headboards.
Room 407 was just around the corner from our room.
My room was green with pictures of birds. The beds were already turned down, but the pillows are monogrammed and there was a fun green embroidered bolster pillow in the center of the bed during the day.
The heated-floor bathroom is so perfect with shelves, a lovely tall bureau sink, bidet, and a nice, powerful rain shower head and wand. Delicious Voya organic seaweed beauty products are provided with fluffy white monogrammed towels on a warmer rack.
It couldn’t have been more perfect! Room 419 has a view of the bridge and river.
The rooms are a perfect combination of old and new!
There are electronic controls by the door for the lights. The bedside has touch controls for the lights and blinds.
We freshened up and ate a lovely dinner before bed.
We had reservations at The Dungeon but ate in the Drawing Room because there was no room downstairs for all of us. Noli Alngohuro was concerned about the lack of space in The Dungeon, but how can you tell guests they’ve overstayed their time? He made sure we were well-taken care of during dinner and explained the Irish Whiskey to us.
Robert Bowe greeted us every time we saw him, always ready for a chat. He was delightful and wore awesome vests.
The kids were all happy with salmon, potato soup, chicken strips, and an amazing hamburger. Each dish was served with fries and steamed buttered vegetables. Platters of miniature breads and Irish butter appeared on slates.
The quality and exquisite taste of such simple food is impressive.
Aaron ordered this gorgeous venison stew en croute, served with mashed potatoes.
I enjoyed this unique mix of flavors with salmon and beets. The salmon was superbly prepared.
We took an early morning walk by the river and took this lovely picture of the castle:
I loved seeing the heron in the marshes by the bridge.
Stone Irish Wolfhounds guard the front door.
The exquisite Reagan Presidential Suite is named for President Ronald Reagan who once stayed at Ashford Castle. There have been lots of famous people at Ashford over the years. The kids loved reading the wall of fame.
The George V Dining Room is very upscale (It’s named in honor of the king’s visit in 1906, when he was the Prince of Wales. The bar is also named for him.) and we didn’t want that added stress of helping the kids at a fancy dinner, so we didn’t dine there during our stay.
We had breakfast every day in that same dining room so we didn’t miss anything. The breakfast was to die for – smoked salmon, Connemara slow-cooked ham station, sausages, these amazing stuffed mushrooms, cheese, scones served with silver pots of tea, coffee, and hot chocolate…and the kids could even order pancakes off the menu and Tori ordered eggs Benedict two mornings – it was all included!
The kids were delighted with afternoon tea in the gorgeous Connaught Room (which boasts a Donegal Crystal chandelier) the next day!
We ordered two adult teas and four children’s teas. It was more than enough for all of us.
We were each greeted with a fruity cordial and the adults’ were topped with champagne.
Aaron and I ordered a full glass of champagne to start. Just because.
We each ordered tea, of course. Other options are on the menu for those who don’t like tea.
Katie and Liz shared Darjeeling. Alex likes Earl Grey. Tori and Aaron enjoyed Irish Gold. I got Irish Cream Whiskey. It was amazing.
Then these fun towers of food arrived with plates full of goodies!
A plethora of fun sandwiches: salmon, cucumber, chicken avocado, PBJ, cheese. And all these darling cakes and sweets. The kids got adorable little vanilla milkshakes and candies.
Then, at the end, we got three huge plates of scones with jam, clotted cream, and lemon curd!
We were stuffed!
The Irish Wolfhounds, Cronan and Garvan, come to Ashford every day at 10 AM for tummy rubs and pictures. Follow them on Instagram!
I just loved these sweet boys!
Aaron and I enjoyed evenings in The Prince of Wales Bar for whiskey tastings and ale and the Billiards Room for a chat with the barkeep and a game of cards. The table was for Snooker, so we didn’t know how to play! There’s also a Cigar Terrace, but we didn’t go there.
We decided we loved Redbreast and Midleton best, though Connemara was peaty and unique (and goes great in porridge – who knew?).
The kids enjoyed the 32-seat movie theater with popcorn and sweets. The library was a delight.
There is also an indoor pool. Remember to bring swim caps or be ready to pay €5 each. There are family-friendly hours from 6-8 PM. Our three younger kids and Aaron swam two evenings in a row.
We didn’t try out the award-winning spa, but I hear and read that it’s amazing. It has five treatment rooms, including a couple’s room with nice views and all the expected amenities.
Double rooms start at about €245 (or £185) per night, including breakfast.
Check out Ashford Castle for a magical family experience!