Discover the rich history of Ashford Castle, extending back to 1228 and once home to the famous Guinness family.
Ashford Castle was founded by the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family following their defeat of the native O'Connors of Connaught. The de Burgos would build several such castles throughout the province, but Ashford in Ireland would remain the principal stronghold.
After more than three and a half centuries under the de Burgos, Ashford passed into the hands of Sir Richard Bingham, Lord President of Connaught, following a fierce battle against the forces of the de Burgos. A fortified enclave is added within its precincts.
The famous Ashford estate was established by the Browne family and a fabulous French style chateau is added to the architectural splendour of the castle. The double-headed eagles are still visible on the roof, representing the Brownes coat of arms.
Sir Benjamin lee Guinness purchased Ashford and extended the estate to 26,000 acres, building new roads and planting thousands of trees, as well as adding two large Victorian style extensions.
Sir Benjamin lee Guinness bequeaths Ashford to his son, Lord Ardilaun, an avid gardener who oversaw the Castle's development and rebuilt the entire west wing.
Ashford was retained by the Iveagh trust on behalf of the Guinness family until it is bought by Noel Huggard in 1939. Huggard established the castle as a first class hotel renowned for the provision of its country pursuits.
The director John Ford came to the West of Ireland to film what would become a movie classic "The Quiet Man". Many of the film stars stayed at Ashford.
Ashford Castle Hotel is bought by John Mulcahy who oversaw its complete restoration and expansion, doubling the size, building a golf course and developing the grounds.
A group of Irish American investors purchased Ashford Castle. In the 16 years since, Ashford has been voted not only one of the best hotels in Ireland by the most discerning guidebooks, but also one of the top 50 resort properties in Europe.
In May 2013, Ashford Castle was bought by Red Carnation Hotels and began a major refurbishment to bring the castle back to its former glory.
As part of the new refurbishment Ashford Castle introduced a 30 seat Cinema, luxurious Billiards Room and Cigar Terrace. In 2014, The Lodge at Ashford Castle was acquired by The Red Carnation Hotel Collection.
In August, Ashford Castle introduced the brand new state-of-the-art Spa, wine tasting tunnels and Mrs Tea's Boutique. The Castle was also voted Best Hotel in the World by Virtuoso.
In June 2016, the romantic and private lakeside Hideaway Cottage was completed - once the old boat shed in the gardens of Ashford Castle.
Adding to an exciting selection of over 30 Estate activities, including Ireland’s first school of falconry, horse-riding and fishing, the Castle introduced a thrilling off-roading course across the stunning Connemara landscape.