Stretching from Galway to County Mayo, Lough Corrib is Ireland’s second biggest lake and contains more islands than there are days of the year. The ancient expanse of water is integral to the landscape surrounding Ashford Castle, with many of the hotel’s long-serving staff members having lived on its shores since childhood. Here, a handful of local experts recount their favourite memories from growing up in the area and reveal more about the unique adventures that guests can enjoy on Lough Corrib throughout the year.
Traditional fishing on Lough Corrib
An Orvis-endorsed guide, Frank Costello has been fishing on Lough Corrib since he was seven years old, and he has been a fishing ghillie, or guide, for Ashford Castle for 27 years.
“My father was a ghillie for Ashford Castle from 1939 to 1974. But he died when I was six years old. So, I learned my early fly fishing from a friend’s father, who was happy I was interested in fishing, as my friend wasn’t,” Frank tells us. “I build my own traditional, wooden lake boats from European larch and oak wood. Lough Corrib has many heavily wooded islands, which are overlooked by the castle, and I’m happy to steer passengers around them on personalised fishing trips.”
The majority of fish that inhabit Lough Corrib are wild brown trout and Atlantic salmon. The lake is one of the most famous fisheries for these species in Ireland. “We can fly fish, spin or troll for them, depending on the time of year,” Frank says.
A scenic Lough Corrib island cruise
Corrib Cruises was founded by John Luskin in 1976. Today, it’s manned by his sons, Patrick and David, who grew up working on the passenger boats. Join the local brothers for a tranquil tour of the lake, aboard a comfortable all-weather craft. Their cruises take in the Connemara mountain’s distant peaks and a historic fleet of mysterious islands, some of which are home to centuries-old churches.
“Recently, 70 ancient log boats were discovered in Lough Corrib’s depths, the oldest dating back to 2500 BCE,” Patrick says. “Passengers can enjoy traditional live music while we’re sailing, as well as a finely stocked bar serving Irish coffee and draught Guinness.” Patrick is well placed to guide visitors around the lake, as he authored A Voyage of Discovery about its history, and a signed copy can be purchased on board.
High-octane water sports
Thrill seekers can make the most of the cleanest lake in the country with Ashford Outdoors, which facilitates the estate’s many outdoor pursuits. Duty Manager Mark Bonner explains, “Ashford Outdoors offers many ways to explore the wonderful sights and beautiful scenery on Lough Corrib. Take a relaxing kayak tour around the islands or jump up on our stand-up paddle boards, for exceptional views of Ashford Castle from the lake. Whether you are an experienced paddler or just looking to try something new, our qualified guides will ensure the excursion is tailored to your needs. Our fun activities bring together friends and family, adrenaline and nature.”
Explore the majestic Lough Corrib with our local experts when staying at Red Carnation Hotels’ Ashford Castle.