Ashford Castle is a medieval castle located in Cong, County Mayo in Ireland. It is an early 13th Century castle that has since been renovated and rebuilt as a hotel. It has also been known to play host to several notable guests, past and present.
Ashford Castle was first built in 1228 by the de Burgh family who also went on to build several other similar castles throughout the province. It remained within the de Burgh family for more than three and a half centuries after which it went to Sir Richard Bingham in 1589. Fortifications were added within the precincts of the castle. In 1715, the estate of Ashford went to the Browne family where a lodge was built in the style of a French chateau that added to the medieval splendor of the castle.
The estate was later on purchased by Sir Benjamin Guinness in 1852 and extended the estate by building new roads and planting trees that became forests. Sir Guiness also added two large Victorian style extensions to the castle. The Ashford Castle went on to undergo several renovations in some parts. The castle eventually was sold to Noel Huggard in 1939 where it was then opened as a hotel.
Ashford Castle is actually a mix of different architectural styles due to the fact that its various owners have both added and renovated some parts of the structure throughout its long history. From its early Romanesque influences still evident in the Augustinian Abbey located right at the gates of the estate, the castle eventually had some attractive additions such as the building of the French chateau and the Victorian inspired extensions to the castle. The splendid backdrop of the forests and the nearby Lough Corrib lake makes it one of the more picturesque castles in Ireland.