Originally built as a crenellated castle in the 13th century, and re-built as a hunting and fishing lodge in the 1800’s, Ashford Castle has been totally refurbished into a luxurious country resort. The castle is strategically located on the banks of Lough Corrib and the River Cong, and has a long sporting tradition.
Fly-fishing is a long-standing tradition at Ashford Castle, and Lough Corrib is known for its wily brown trout, strong-running seatrout, grilse, and its elusive salmon. Some of the best fishing on Lough Corrib occurs during the Mayfly Hatch in May and June. Spring runs of salmon sometimes enter the adjacent River Cong as early as February, and salmon fishing reaches it peak in June or early July. Although fly fishing attracts many guests to Ashford Castle, it is important to understand that the fishing can be inconsistent. Fishing here is dependent on weather and can be slow, resulting in very low catch rates on many days. If you are looking to catch a lot of fish, you may be disappointed by the fly fishing in Ireland. On the other hand, if you are looking for a great place to visit in Ireland that offers traditional fishing with an Irish ghillie, Ashford Castle is an excellent choice. In addition to the angling opportunities, Ashford Castle offers a multitude of activities for the non-angler.
Season: Salmon: February 1 - September 30 (peaks in June) | Brown Trout: March 1 - September 30 (peaks in late April - early June).
Pricing and Dates: Please contact Ashford Castle directly for current prices and availability.
Approximately 18 miles long, with numerous islands and bays scattered throughout, Lough (Lake) Corrib is well known as one of the best trout loughs in Ireland - and with good reason. This reason lies in a bedrock of limestone which produces a proliferation of insect life that allows the resident wild trout to grow at an alarming rate. This same limestone creates jagged underwater reefs of rock and shallows where trout are found cruising in search of a meal.
Here you will fish with your ghillie from a traditional wooden boat, drifting with the wind and perhaps casting dry flies to specific localized hatches, or searching the waters methodically with traditional wet flies. You will take your lunch shore side, perhaps on one of the many islands in the middle of the lough. Stillwater fishing is carried to a fine art in Ireland and you will learn the many methods and tactics to become successful with it during your stay.
Non-anglers will find plenty to do in the area and the hotel arranges a wide variety of excursions.
The Castle has two tennis courts on the grounds available for the complimentary use of its guests, as well as a 9-hole golf course. There are numerous trails throughout the 350-acre private woodland, and more challenging hikes can be arranged.
A favorite activity of guests at Ashford Castle is the Pony and Trap Tour to the nearby village of Cong to visit the filming locations of The Quiet Man.
The Ashford Equestrian Center is situated within easy walking distance of the Castle, with its rides over the beautiful wooded countryside between the shores of Lough Corrib and Lough Mask and into the mountains of Connemara to the West. These superb natural amenities are backed up by modern purpose-built facilities, including a large indoor school along with outdoor jumps, both natural and man made. Rides are mainly of one-hour duration. For more experienced riders, longer or a full day's scenic ride are available on request. All rides are accompanied by an experienced guide.
Ashford Castle also offers shooting sports. You can shoot a round of sporting clays, or partake of some private shooting instruction. The castle is situated in prime foxhunting territory and guests at Ashford can join in the hunt by prior arrangement. Pre-hunting courses are available, and beginners are welcome.
Falconry has been a royal sport since time immemorial, and Ireland’s School of Falconry is located on the estate at Ashford Castle. Here you have the rare opportunity to handle and fly a bird of prey. No experience is necessary.
During the introductory lesson, you will learn how to handle and fly a Harris Hawk within the grounds of the Castle. You will never forget the moment your hawk first lands on your gloved fist! Lessons and “Hawk Walks” are suitable for all ages and abilities.
A “Hawk Walk” includes a simulated hunt and the possible opportunity to handle or fly one of the other species of birds-of-prey kept at the school. Be sure to bring your camera, as opportunities to experience the thrill of flying a bird-of-prey are rare.
Guests have complimentary use of the Ashford Health Centre, featuring a whirlpool, sauna, steam room, shower, fully equipped gymnasium & conservatory. A full complement of spa treatments and massages can be arranged directly with the Health Centre staff, often with short notice.
The use of the tennis courts and the 9-hole golf course at Ashford Castle is complimentary as well as the walking & hiking trails throughout the 350-acre woodland. Additional activities during your stay, such as those highlighted above, can be arranged through the concierge during your stay.
A member of the Relais et Chateaux group, Ashford Castle provides a romantic backdrop in superior surrounds, offering guests both relaxation and comfort. There are many opportunities to explore the vast estate with fishing on Lough Corrib, equestrian pursuits, golf, falconry and trail walking. Or simply relax in the luxurious interiors and enjoy your favorite novel or pamper yourself with treatments from their beauty therapists.
The standard double rooms at Ashford Castle are large and luxurious. Upgrades to suites are available on request for an additional charge.
The food at Ashford Castle is outstanding and a substantial Irish breakfast is included in your package. You can choose from one of the hotel’s gourmet restaurants for dinner, or wander into the nearby village of Cong for a meal in a local pub. The village is a short stroll from the castle, and there’s no need for a vehicle.
If you have ever seen the John Wayne & Maureen O’Hara movie The Quiet Man, you’ve had a preview of what the countryside has to offer. The nearby village of Cong and its surroundings was portrayed as the village of Innisfree in the filming of the movie. If you like, you can walk down the street and order up a Guinness at the same pub where the fight was staged.