Best of Ireland Oct 5 2023 Ashford Castle

This is our first Tauck tour. Midway through the trip we will stay at Ashford Castle. We do Galway in the morning and then return to the castle around 1 PM. My husband is doing Falconry at 3 PM. I was going to book services at the Spa, but now I am thinking that I should leave this time open to explore the castle. Any thoughts?


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    edited September 2023

    I don't know if there is really much of anything to explore, other the lobby and lounge area and the George V and Dungeon restaurants outside meal times, inside, and walk the grounds, outside. I believe all of the castle, including the small original section that remains, and subsequent additions, are just part of the lodging. The grounds were mostly lawn and golf course. There is somewhat of a park with promenade (main terrace walk) with small sunken, carpet, and walled gardens. We were not impressed by these. They may have been under renovation because I didn't take a single photo of them!!! Ashford has had financial issues in the past and it may have been before new owners had really started to rework things when we were there.

    Our itinerary was different and our two night stay at Ashford in Jul-Aug, 2016 was broken up by a long excursion to Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, so we didn't really spend a lot of time at Ashford.

    The oldest part is the gray section at the far left:

    I believe the low, round turret is original but the all gray (painted) tower behind it is from the 20th (?) century:

    Boat landing, bridge, rear(?) facade, and gate structure:

    Original section at the far right:

    Promenade/path (main terrace walk):

    A few of the common areas:

    The first hole of the golf course with "castle" in the background and Cullen's at the Cottage (one of the dining locations) I had an excellent lobster there:

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    MarjieD --I was just there last month. At the front desk, I booked a history tour of the castle. It was 80 euros for up to 6 people; 100 euros for more than 6. It was interesting. Most of it was outdoors. By the way, when we were at our final stop, the Lyrath Estate outside Kilkenny, we had the choice of doing falconry, archery or a spa service the final afternoon (the cost of which was included in the tour). I chose "none of the above" and spent the afternoon in Kilkenny, but the people who did the falconry there really enjoyed it -- so maybe your husband might want to wait and do the falconry there -- but check with the Tour Director to make sure that the options will be the same on your tour.

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    Lovely pictures Alan

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    Allan S, thank you this is really helpful! Beautiful photos! I didn't realize that much of it was new. MCD, I saw your review earlier of the falconry and spa options at Lyrath Estate - which is what prompted this question. Thank you so much for all the info. It seems like the tour at Ashford (which I didn't know you could do) is the way to go. And I had little interest in falconry until I saw the reviews at Lyrath and so I think I will! Thank you both!

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    My husband wasn't interested in falconry either until he did it and after it was one of his favorite things.

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    There are some thoughts/rumors Tauck is no longer doing boat arrival at Ashford Castle. Anyone with first hand, recent knowledge?

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    I was there this past summer. No boat arrival; however, we were welcomed by a piper. We disembarked from the coach and followed him across the bridge to the castle, where some of the staff were lined up to welcome us, a la Downton Abbey.

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