I still can’t believe my first trip to Ireland is over, it passed so quickly after several months of planning I did a journey around the country which I’m excited to share about soon, but my absolute favorite moment of the entire trip would have to be visiting Ashford Castle, which had me feeling like royalty throughout my stay.
photo courtesy of Ashford Castle
Ashford Castle is located in the breathtaking Cong, County of Mayo in Ireland. Driving to the castle takes 45 minutes from Galway, or 3 hours if you are coming from Dublin airport.
Built in 1228, Ashford Castle was formerly owned by the Guinness family and was turned into a hotel in 1939. Set on 350 acres of the picturesque landscape the castle backs onto Lough Corrib. I first became aware of this amazing castle through watching the tv show Reign, as the castle is used as one of the filming locations.
Voted #1 best resort hotel in the United Kingdom and Ireland and world’s #3 hotel by Travel and Leisure, #5 top resorts in Europe by Condé Nast, Ashford Castle has been frequently visited by royalty, politicians, and celebrities, and after exploring the grounds and the opulent interior of 5-star Ashford Castle I quickly understand why it is impossible not to fall in love with everything about this castle.
Walking around the medieval castle you can’t help but feel you’ve stepped into a fairytale everything is just perfect. For those looking to relax there is an outstanding spa, but there is plenty to keep you busy too, you can take a cruise on the lake behind the castle, take a class in archery, go horseback riding, and try out Falconry (a personal favorite of mine) as Ireland’s first school of falconry are on the grounds.
AFTERNOON TEA AT ASHFORD CASTLE
It is hard to pick one favorite moment while visiting the castle, but if I had to pick my highlight from visiting the castle this time it would be chatting in the Connaught Room while enjoying afternoon tea. High tea has been a long tradition at the castle since 1868, you can sit by the window and view the fountain in the backyard while you nibble on sweet treats.
While I have had the luxury of staying at many spectacular hotels and resorts, it was here at Ashford Castle that I felt most at home, which has everything to do with the friendly and welcoming staff who are a true delight. After driving down the majestic tree lined the driveway and being ushered through the main hall with its grand chandelier I was guided to my table beside the window to begin a magical high tea that is one I will never forget.
Afternoon tea at the Ashford Castle started with a drink with champagne foam, to be followed with a glass of champagne, a pot of tea, delicious finger sandwiches, savory scones topped with creme fresh and jam to be followed up with top-notch pastries. It was such as relaxing way to spend the afternoon with a friend, that I couldn’t help but savor every moment.
After my short stay, I’m already planning a future visit as there is so much to do at Ashford Castle I’d love to return to this magnificent hotel which I’ve fallen in love with. If you happen to visit Ireland in the future, make sure to Ashford Castle to your travel itinerary, you won’t regret it.