Trip to Ireland

A Moment in Luxury

Andrea and I just experienced a dream week in Ireland. The fantasy of living in a castle, however brief it was, became realized, in mid November. We ventured to Western Ireland, outside of Cong and spent 4 wonderful nights in Ashford Castle. A part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, it is the number 1 resort in Ireland and The United Kingdom and in the top five in Europe.

Built in 1228 and set amongst 350 acres of woodland, lough and river, the Tollman family recently spent 26 million euro updating the castle to the highest standards possible. The Tollmans are also the owners of Guinness and are heavily involved in many foundations throughout Ireland.

The 80+ rooms come in varying quality and each one is uniquely designed. Just touring the castle you are in awe of the collections of art, books, silverware and furniture. There is not a single item untouched from the upgrading and you feel as though you are a a Lord or Lady. Tour the grounds and see the gardens, fountains, hidden parks. If its wet out, then put on complimentary hunter boots, rain jackets and grab an umbrella. No detail is missed out for you to enjoy your stay.

Outdoor activities remain a highlight. Just as the aristocrats did so can you, go horseback riding, try your aim in archery, prove your worth in clay pigeon shooting, set out a hawk to hunt in the falconry school, ride the trails on horseback, dip your fly into the river or lough Corrib, watch a true fox hunt or even walk the Irish hounds in the early morning.

Indoor activities are more subdued but still abundant. Indulge in of Irelands finest spas, swim in a heated lap pool, play a game of snooker in the billiards room, sample wines from the 400 year old wine cellar, explore the World of tobacco in the cigar room, have high tea overlooking the lough, read a true classic in the library or watch a movie in the Cinema. The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne is the main feature as it was filmed on the grounds.

The staff are nothing like you have experienced before. Doors are opened for you, you are led to your room, requests are answered within minutes not hours, you are doted on during meal times, a look of doubt or question brings someone to help you out. Every question can be answered every request can be fulfilled. You are treated as though you are the Lord or Lady of the castle. If you go back to the castle you will most likely be greeted by familiar faces. Most of the staff have worked at the castle
for at least 15 years and some their lives. There are even multi generational employees working who are now working the same position as their great grandfathers.

Yes, this kind of resort can be quite costly. In high season the basic room goes for almost 1400.00 cad per night and that’s with no meals. However, plan it right and you can live out your castle dream without breaking the bank. We found their special 2 night romance packages in January, February and March of 2017 going at a rate of 1000.00 cad total. It includes 2 nights in a Corrib room, Irish breakfast for 2 each morning, 1 gourmet a la carte dinner and 1 picnic lunch. Not bad for a castle stay!

Orleans Travel & Cruise Centre can help you out in booking this castle or any other dream vacation you have. Call or email us to book now 1-800-263-3022 or

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