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History of Ashford

Original Owner:
de Burgo Family- est, Lord Richard Mor de Burgh, 1st Lord of Connaught- Born in Galway, Ireland in 1194 and Died in Aquitaine, France in 1243

Names Associated with Property:
Sir Richard Bingham, Lord President of Connaught- born 1578 in Sutton Bingham, Dorset, England and died 1636 (7.5m) spouse Anne Chaldecott born in 1550 in Dorset, England and died in 1621

-Colonel (and Mayor) Dominick Browne of Carrabrowne- Born ~1630 and Died ~1722 (312k)

-Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness– Born in Dublin in 1798 to Arthur Guinness and Anne Lee and Died 1855 in London, England

Ashford Hotel – Stay in a Historic Castle in Ireland

Overlooking the shores of Lough Corrib, this 800-year-old castle is a truly exceptional property with an impressive history and an undeniable national significance. Located on the stunning West Coast of Ireland, Ashford House is surrounded by 350 acres of immaculate gardens, forests, and verdant woodlands. A truly deserving recipient of the Virtuoso ‘Best Hotel in the World’ accolade, this 13th century castle has recently undergone a $75 million restoration that has brought Ashford House’s ancient walls and illustrious rooms back to life, establishing Ashford Castle as one of the most prestigious destinations in Europe.

Following a combat victory over the native O’Connors of Connaught in 1228, it was the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family who built Ashford castle on the perimeter of a monastic site. However, after more than three centuries of relative peace, a fierce battle erupted between the forces of the de Burgos and those of the English official Sir Richard Bingham, Lord President of Connaught. Following the bloody conflict, a truce was agreed and Ashford Castle was passed into the hands of a new master, Sir Richard Bingham, in 1589. Almost another three centuries later, this magnificent castle exchanged hands once again and was purchased by brewer and philanthropist, Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness. Having joined his father in the family business while still a teenager, Guinness took sole ownership of the company in 1839 and – after only two decades in control of the brewery – the owner of Ashford House became the richest man in Ireland.

What followed in the 19th and 20th centuries was a period of immense growth and expansion. Before bequeathing Ashford House to his son, Guinness extended the estate to a monumental 26,000 acres, planting thousands of trees and building two large extensions. As an avid and talented gardener, Guinness’ son, Lord Ardilaun, played a significant role in developing the grandeur of the estate, rebuilding the entire west wing during his ownership. In 1939, the fruitful Guinness reign came to an end and Ashford Castle was acquired and renovated several times, first by Noel Huggard and then by John Mulcahy – both of whom were dedicated to the art of redefining this historic property as a world class castle hotel.

During the 20th century, a whole host of glamorous and notable guests lay their heads on the luxurious four-poster beds that furnish the most magnificent suites. From nobility to celebrity, Ashford House opened its doors to the likes of The Prince of Wales – later King George V – as well as the hugely influential director, John Ford, who chose Ashford estate as the spectacular backdrop for his 1951 movie, The Quiet Man. In 1984, the castle was graced by President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan, and the luxurious suite they stayed in has since been named the Reagan Presidential Suite. Despite such undeniable glamour and prestige, perhaps the most successful and decadent chapter in Ashford Castle’s evolution came in the 21st century in the form of an impeccable restoration by Red Carnation, which transformed Ashford into a true and exceptional celebration of the estate’s past, present and future. 

Today, Ashford House promises guests a once in a lifetime experience. With a strong connection to the land, deep roots in the local community, and a genuine appreciation for the traditions of local craftspeople and producers, Ashford House brings this beautiful corner of Ireland to life, creating experiences defined by an exceptional attention to detail and world-famous Irish hospitality.