Posted by: danielfee | March 17, 2012

Travel Photo of the Day 03-17-2012

Ashford Castle - Cong, Ireland

  On St. Patrick’s Day when everyone is Irish, it is appropriate that the travel photo of the day is from the mother country. Ashford Castle is one of Ireland’s best 5-star hotels. Located in County Galway, in the west of Ireland, is this Gothic Revival style castle which was rebuilt in 1870 by Lord  Ardilaun of the Guinness family. The castle was originally built in 1228 by the Anglo-Norman House of Burke (this is the name given to the clan of the Norman-Irish family of de Burgo) following their defeat of the O’Connors, the Royal House of Connacht. After more than three and a half centuries under the de Burgos, Ashford passed into the hands of a new master, following a fierce battle between the forces of the de Burgo’s and those of the English official Sir Richard Bingham, Lord President of Connaught, when they agreed to a truce. In 1715, the estate of Ashford was established by the Browne Family, and a lodge in the style of a 17th-century French château was added to the medieval splendour of the castle. The Estate was purchased in 1852 by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, who extended the estate to 26,000 acres, built new roads, planted thousands of trees and added two large Victorian style extensions. Upon his death in 1868, the estate passed to his son Lord Ardilaun, who was an avid gardener and oversaw the development of massive woodlands and rebuilt the entire west wing of the castle in the Gothic Revival style. The Guinness family sold it to Noel Huggard in 1939 and he opened the estate as a hotel. In its time as a hotel, the castle has played host to many notable guests including: John Lennon, George Harrison, King George V of the U.K. and Queen Mary, Oscar Wilde, Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Princess Grace, President Ronald Reagan, Senator Ted Kennedy, John Wayne, Brad Pitt, and of course me and my wife, Queen Charlotte.



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