The iconic Ashford Castle was officially re-opened today by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D. He was welcomed on his arrival by Mrs Beatrice Tollman, President and Founder of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, of which the property is now part.
Following a two-year multi-phased restoration programme Ashford Castle now stands as one of Europe’s finest luxury hotels. Once home to the Guinness family for over 100 years the Castle has welcomed royalty, celebrities and heads of state across its illustrious history including George V (then the Prince of Wales), President Ronald Reagan, Brad Pitt, John Wayne, Fred Astaire, Barbara Streisand, John Travolta and many more.
Commenting on the occasion, Mrs Beatrice Tollman said: “It is a great honour for my family and for the staff of Ashford Castle to welcome An Taoiseach here today. We are so proud of this fabulous property - our first in Ireland - and we applaud the work of the many Irish craftsmen and artists who have worked fastidiously with our team to restore Ashford Castle to this glorious state”.
The restoration has been undertaken with every respect to this historic building. New amenities include a 32-seat cinema, billiard room, cigar terrace and boutique and retail space, with a state-of-the-art spa, children’s games room, wine cellars for private dining and luxury lakeside cottage to follow by July. Each of the 85 guestrooms and suites and all existing public areas have been beautifully enhanced and decorated with a range of antiques, original artwork, sumptuous fabrics and bespoke carpets, complemented by the latest technologies expected by the modern discerning traveller.
The outdoor areas and enhanced facilities located within the 350-acre estate include falconry, an equestrian centre, clay shooting, golf, tennis, cycling, fishing and water sports on Lough Corrib. Every element of Ashford Castle, both inside and out, reflects the award-winning five-star luxury experience for which Red Carnation is renowned.
To support the improved facilities at the hotel, the staff levels have been significantly increased to 300 thus boosting employment within the local area. All staff members have undertaken Red Carnation’s award-winning training and development programmes to ensure that the service delivery across the hotel is second to none.
Remaining a constant throughout the entire restoration programme has been Ashford Castle’s General Manager, Niall Rochford, and his team, several of whom have worked at the hotel for between 30 to 40 years. Mr Rochford has presided at Ashford Castle for nearly 14 years and was awarded the prestigious Hotel Manager of the Year 2013 by the Irish Hospitality Institute Founders.