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Published: December 17th 2009
What a way to end! Everything had been leading up to this day, our stay at The Ashford Castle. One of Irelands Top 5 Hotels we were Literally Princesses for a whole 24 hours.
Ireland’s grandest castle hotel, with a history going back to the early 13th century, Ashford is set in 350 acres of beautiful parkland. Grandeur, formality and tranquillity are the essential characteristicsthat you first see in the immaculately maintained grounds and, once inside, you feast your eyes on a succession of impressive public rooms that illustrate a long and proud history - panelled walls, oil paintings, suits of armour and magnificent fireplaces. It has changed hands many times throughout it's long history including been proudly owned by the Guiness Family. It is clear that all the detail, decor, service and manicured gardens make it a much loved place by all who have owned and worked in it.
Driving through the golf course and across the bridge you immediately feel relaxed and at home........ that was until we parked and Rita realised she had left her credit card in the Bar back in Galway (guess thats what we get for having a sneakky drink at 11 am in the
morning lol). Rita immediately hit panic stations and we prepared to drive 2 hours back to collect it but I came up with the idea to go into the hotel first and get our moneys worth by asking them for help. Doors opened for us and a lovely welcome to Ashford Castle we told them all about our dilemma. In no time they had called the Pub, confirmed the card was there and offered one of their workers to go and pick it up and bring it to us!!!!!!!!! Then on top of all that, because we had endured such an awful morning (drinking guiness) they upgraded us to a lovely Corrib Room overlooking the Loch Corrib. This stay was going to be total hell!!!!!!!! ha ha ha ha I could just tell.
Rita was rather funny as it was her first time in a 5 star hotel and she was very taken with the service. we did not hesitate to take them up on both offers and were booked into dinner at the George V restaurant then escorted to our upgraded room. It was gorgeous! Awesome bathroom with a hydra shower head, fluffy pillows, classy decor and a stunning
veiw. I was even presented with a Welcome To Ashford Castle Rachelle Dunn on my large flat screen tv. Bags delivered directly from the car we decided to walk through the gardens and it was at this time that I decided to test some speed features on my camera, hence the physie jump. If only I knew these features existed when I was in Africa....... so thats why you are supposed to read the instructions! The gardens were lovely and the autumn colours filled me with warmth and comfort. We wandered and talked and I played around with a bit of video. I clearly did not excel in drama at school. Then we lazily walked to the drawing room for afternoon tea. It was heaven and the teas aroma was soothing. I did the whole lifting the pinkie up as I sipped and Rita payed out on me for my snobby ways. After a long afternoon rest we headed back to our room for an afternoon nap and to prpeare for the next course- Dinner!
Executive Head Chef, Stefan Matz (who was the Guide’s Chef of the Year in 2007) oversees the cooking for all food operations in the castle.
We had a 5 course meal and suitable glass of wine with each course. By desert I felt so drunk that the patterned plate in front of me took on a magical 3D effect ha ha ha ha.
But i made it through and then we retired to the drawing room for the piano and a baileys. We sat with loads of old rich couples who found it very interesting that two young girls would want to stay at the castle and then headed to our beds and fluffy pillows. In the morning we were back at the restaurant for a yummy buffet breakfast and got packed. It was bucketing down with rain so we decided to seek refuge a little longer in the drawing room reading the paper and sipping tea. It was a relaxing a peaceful end to our week and then the long journey from west to east began. We arrived in Dublin at about 6pm and loads of traffic was there to greet us. Of course, we slipped in the afternoon nap before I met up with Jodie from my Croatia trip. We met in Dublins famous Temple st for a bit of a pub crawl.
It was jam packed and buzzing. Halloween was in the air and we were really, really tired. We lasted to midnight then headed to bed. The following morning and endless amounts of km later we returned our trusty car and jumped on the plane, london bound.
This was one of my favourite european trips to date. Thanks Rita for such a fab time!
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