Ashford Castle is a glorious 17th century castle, hotel, garden and golf course worthy of Downton Abby. My brother and I first visited this location in 1999 on our first trip and we were really taken by it. We didn’t have enough money to stay there and still don’t but we love to visit. Located on the outskirts of the Quiet Man village of Cong, Ashford castle is for the rich and famous. Once owned by the Guinness family this updated medieval castle sits on the lovely Lough Corrib next to a pretty wooded golf course. Visitors can walk the grounds and visit the gardens and even take boat tours. However, they are no longer allowed inside of the castle without a reservation. (Boo!)
The adjacent town of Cong is possibly one of the most charming small towns in Ireland. Cong and Ashford sit on the cusp of Connemara, Ireland’s nature wonderland. This area is worthy of a visit to bask in the thousands of shades of green available to you. Rest, relax, and renew and have your photo taken with the statue of Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne while you are there.
If I ever redesign my back yard I would like it to look like this…
Keeping guard over the castle.
Official family selfie at Ashford Castle. Say hello to the Collins clan.
Follow my Wild Irish Road trip here…
PS. Rest in peace Maureen O’Hara. I wrote and scheduled this post prior to her passing. What a lovely Irish movie legend…
Welcome to Kylemore Abbey. The nuns here know how to pick a location! If money were no option for me I would have picked the exact same location nestled in to the west of Ireland at the base of a magnificent mountain range on the edge of a peaceful lake. The windy road that leads to the abbey is one of those roads that looks like it should take you about 20-30 minutes to get there on a map and it realistically takes you 3-4 hours of winding and turning and slowing for sheep. But the drive is worth it.
The abbey, which the Benedictine nuns purchased after fleeing Belgium in WWI, is partially open for tours. The castle-turned-abbey was originally built in 1867 by a wealthy doctor with seventy rooms and 40,000 square feet. It can be followed by a nice nature walk along the lake, a visit to the Gothic Cathedral (which had live gospel singing while we happen to be there), the original family mausoleum, a lovely waterfall, and a modern art installation. A short bus ride will take you to the victorian walled gardens and should not be missed! When you are good and tired visit the store for something to eat and to purchase some Kylemore Abbey Benedictine Nun made ceramics or other local art in support of the abbey.
Unusual Irish Sheep
Sweet Art Installation
One of the original buildings
View of the abbey from the lake
For more Irish ramblings click here…