Six days, two historic properties, and countless ways to experience the best of Ireland from idyllic County Mayo to bustling Dublin
By Michael M. Clements
Ireland is green, but not in the cliché lucky four leaf clover way. Literally, it’s green – everywhere: the trees, the rolling hills, the countryside. The scene is particularly emerald driving northwest from Ireland’s Atlantic Coast gateway, Shannon International Airport, through Galway into County Mayo. Known for its wide-open spaces and dramatic cliffs that extend finger like into the brooding Irish Sea, County Mayo is the ideal location to experience country luxury at its finest, starting with the magnificent Ashford Castle on the shores of Lough Corrib, which cuts like a jigsaw through the heart of the pastoral landscape.
On the northeast shore of Ireland’s second largestlake, Lough Corrib, stands Ashford Castle, the ultimate in Irish country opulence. Presiding formidably at the peninsula where the lazy River Cong meets Lough Corrib, and hidden deep within over 350 acres of wooded parkland, this 13th century castle hotel is a monument to a fascinating history of a bygone age. Once the estate of the Guinness brewing clan, the property opened its doors as an exclusive hotel in 1939 and is currently a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.