Discover the rich history of Ashford Castle, extending back to 1228 and once home to the famous Guinness family.
Ashford Castle was founded by the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family following their defeat of the native O'Connors of Connaught. The de Burgos would build several such castles throughout the province, but Ashford in Ireland would remain the principal stronghold.
After more than three and a half centuries under the de Burgos, Ashford passed into the hands of Sir Richard Bingham, Lord President of Connaught, following a fierce battle against the forces of the de Burgos. A fortified enclave is added within its precincts.
The famous Ashford estate is established by the Browne family and a fabulous French style chateau is added to the architectural splendour of the castle. The double-headed eagles still visible on the roof represent the coat of arms of the Brownes.
Sir Benjamin lee Guinness purchases Ashford and extends the estate to 26,000 acres, building new roads and planting thousands of trees and adding two large Victorian style extensions.
Sir Benjamin lee Guinness bequeaths Ashford to his son, Lord Ardilaun, an avid gardener who oversees the development of massive woodlands and rebuilds the entire west wing of the castle.
Ashford is retained by the Iveagh trust on behalf of the Guinness family until it is bought by Noel Huggard in 1939. Huggard establishes the castle as a first class hotel renowned for the provision of its country pursuits.
The director John Ford comes to the West of Ireland to film what would become a movie classic "The Quiet Man". Many of the film stars stayed at Ashford.
Ashford Castle Hotel is bought by John Mulcahy who oversees its complete restoration and expansion, doubling its size, building the golf course and developing the grounds and gardens.
A group of Irish American investors purchase Ashford Castle. In the 16 years since, Ashford has been voted not only one of the best hotels in Ireland by the most discerning guidebooks, but also one of the top 50 resort properties in Europe.
In May 2013, Ashford Castle was bought by Red Carnation Hotels, and began a major refurbishment to bring the castle back to its former glory.