Fans of “The Quiet Man” can once again stay on the grounds where many of the film’s action scenes were shot with the official reopening of Ashford Castle, Co. Mayo, this week.
Ashford Castle, the former summer residence of the Guinness family, reopens this week following a $50 million makeover. The hotel went into receivership in late 2011 and was bought by the Red Carnation Hotel Group in 2013 for $21.3 million.
Two years on, the castle on the shore of Lake Corrib in Cong, Co.Mayo is set to be officially opened this Friday by Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny following a massive restoration and renewal project.
The Red Carnation Hotel Group is a South African company owned by husband and wife Stanley and Beatrice Tollman who will also be traveling to Cong for the official launch.
The massive investment into the hotel’s makeover includes additions such as a spa, swimming pool, a 32-seat cinema, a billiards room and a cigar terrace as well as the renewal of the fishing, shooting, golfing and archery facilities already on site. The grounds have also been made over.
Parts of the original castle, which dates back to the 13th century in places, also needed restoration work with all of the 820 windows being replaced, a new lead roof installed, and much of its stonework repointed.
The vaulted entrance hall, the Connaught Room, Prince of Wales Bar, Drawing Room and the castle's three restaurants all received some makeover work.
Following the owners' significant investment in the property, rates for staying in one of the hotel’s 82 rooms have risen by 20 percent.
Bed and breakfast in a Corrib room will set you back $528 while a night in the split-level Reagan presidential suite, named after the former US president’s stay in 1984, will cost up to $2,660 during peak season.
Off-season rates range between $266 and $1,600.
“Anybody coming to experience the castle will see that the rates reflect the investment that has gone into the property,” Mr Rochford, Ashford Castle’s general manager, told the Irish Times. A night in the castle will now provide you with “probably the best hotel bedrooms in the country,” he claims.
Among the famous faces to have walked within its walls are George V, Ronald Reagan, Brad Pitt, John Wayne, Fred Astaire, Barbra Streisand, and John Travolta. A photo also emerged last year showing a young and unknown Oscar Wilde sitting on the castle steps during a house party.
The famous castle formed the backdrop to many of the action scenes in "The Quiet Man." The movie's director, John Ford, traveled with his stars, John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, to film on the 350-hectare castle grounds in 1951.