Set in 350 acres of historic woodland and perched on the shores of Lough Corrib, the largest lake in the Republic of Ireland, Ashford Castle is particularly lovely during the summer months. The hotel’s array of outdoor activities also come into their own as the days get longer and the temperature rises. From paddle boarding to sheep shearing, there’s so many things to do at Ashford Castle this summer surrounded by Ireland’s breath-taking scenery.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
To see a different side of the castle and Ashford Bay, take to the waters of Lough Corrib on a stand-up paddle board. The bay and lough are ideal for paddle boarding because of their sheltered inlets and lack of waves, meaning you can concentrate on enjoying the wonderful surrounding views of the Ashford Estate and Lisloughrey Quay, while getting up close to the region’s aquatic life. Tours depart from Ashford Castle at 10am, and normally last until 2pm, children over the age of 16 are welcome.
Fly Fishing Lessons
Ashford Castle caters for fishermen of all abilities, whether you’re keen to learn the basics or an experienced salmon fisherman. Book in for a fly fishing lesson with Frank Costello, Ashford Castle’s resident ghillie, an experienced marine and countryside guide, who has lived in the area for all his life. Alternatively, take a half or full day fishing trip in a traditional wooden boat and enjoy a picnic lunch on one of the lough’s islands, you might even be lucky enough to cook your own catch.
Traditional Boat Tours
For those who prefer a gentler pace, a boat tour is the perfect choice. A guided tour of the lough offers excellent opportunities to take in the region’s beautiful landscape, including the lake’s 365 islands and the nearby Connemara mountains. Themed cruises with local experts are also available, including a History Cruise and Island & Live Traditional Music Cruise. If groups aren’t your thing then the hotel is also able to offer private boat hire for up to 10 people.
If you’re looking to try something a little bit different during your stay at Ashford Castle then give sheep shearing a go. A historic farming tradition, visitors will be taken to a working local sheep farm, 30-minutes’ drive from the castle, known for its sheep shearing and sheep dog trials. Learn more about what life is like on an authentic Irish farm and get to know the Connemara Blackface sheep breed whose thick wool was traditionally used for carpet marking.
Ashford Castle is home to the oldest falconry school in Ireland and this ancient pastime continues to delight and amaze the hotel’s guests today. Take part in a Hawk Walk, a private session with a highly knowledgeable instructor who will help your fly your own Harris Hawk and talk you through their characteristics, how they hunt and how they are trained.
Alongside riding lessons and trail rides, Ashford Castle allows visitors to step back in time courtesy of its carriage rides. Well suited to both couples or families, choose between a traditional horse drawn carriage tour of either the scenic lough or the castle’s ancient forest.
Whether you’ve an action-packed trip or a relaxed stay in mind, make sure you speak to Thomas, Ashford Castle’s Activities Coordinator, who is on hand to help each guest find their perfect activity.