Fancy enjoying some wining and dining that’s fit for a king in the surroundings of one of the most exclusive destinations in the west of Ireland?
Well now you can.
Ashford Castle in Cong, which counts presidents, rock stars and screen legends amongst its clientele, has introduced a new range of dining options which makes it easy for locals and daytrippers to enjoy the sumptuous surroundings and five-star hospitality at not altogether unreasonable prices.
The medieval castle is under new ownership, purchased in May 2013 by the Red Carnation Hotel Collection. The hotel closed for a short period to complete the second phase of an extensive three-phase refurbishment programme and reopened its doors in March.
Once the entire restoration project is complete in 2015, the hotel will include a 32-seat cinema, a billiard room and cigar terrace, a full service spa and large indoor heated swimming pool.
Ashford Castle, set in 350 acres, is regarded internationally as the quintessential fairytale Irish castle and attracts visitors from all over the world, particularly north America.
Now, the new range of summer dining options at the hotel is an ideal way for locals to enjoy the famous hotel on their doorstep.
The new range of menus include dungeon dining, world cuisine and a high-class high tea.
Cullen’s at the Dungeon offers the unique opportunity to feast on award-winning food in a medieval dungeon.
This summer, Cullen’s at the Dungeon has launched an Irish Cooking, Past and Present menu, which mixes traditional Irish fare with culinary finesse and top class, locally sourced produce.
Cullen’s at the Cottage, perched next to the castle, has launched a new world cuisine menu inspired by Red Carnation group owner Mrs Beatrice Tollman and her favourite dishes from around the globe.
Alternatively, for a spot of relaxation and something sweet in the Connacht Room in the castle, there’s the Lord and Lady Ardilaun’s Traditional Afternoon Tea.
The menu is created by much celebrated executive chef Stefan Matz and executive pastry chef Paula Stakelum and includes a tiered selection of dainty, gourmet sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and impossibly pretty cakes.
The Red Carnation Hotel Collection has also purchased Lisloughrey Lodge, in the grounds of Ashford Castle, and renamed it The Lodge. “We are incorporating the hotel fully into the Ashford experience,” said Ms Carroll.
Chef at The Lodge, which was built in 1865 for the Ashford estate manager and overlooks Lough Corrib, is Jonathan Keane, whose contemporary, inventive flare has scooped him plenty of culinary awards in recent years.
One of the highlights of The Lodge’s dining options is ‘Dunch’ a late afternoon equivalent of the Sunday brunch, served up with prosecco and jazz in the Piano Bar.