Ashford Castle

  • Forbes Travel Guide has just announced its Star Rating winners for 2021 and, for the second consecutive year, Ashford Castle is the only hotel in Ireland to achieve a Five-Star ranking in the annual honours list, the top rating possible and the ultimate gold standard in hospitality.   Ashford Castle is part of an elite group of luxury hotels around the world that have earned this coveted Five-Star Forbes Travel Guide (FTG) ranking.

    Niall Rochford, general manager at Ashford Castle said: “After a tremendously difficult year for the hospitality industry, the team as Ashford Castle couldn’t have asked for better news at this time. This is arguably the most coveted accolade for any hotel and receiving the news that we have retained our Five-Star rating in the 2021 Forbes Travel Guide is hugely rewarding. We truly have the best team and I couldn’t be more proud.”

    Forbes’ team of inspectors travels the world to assess hotels, restaurants and spas based on 900 objective standards that determine its coveted annual Star Ratings, paying particular attention to the provision of exceptional service.  The top award from Forbes is given only to properties that meet more than 500 service and physical criteria during anonymous inspections, showing "an impeccable standard of excellence in hospitality.” The Forbes Travel Guide team visits every property that it Star Rates, anonymously as a paying guest. Every Star Rating is earned through an objective, independent process and no one can buy or solicit a rating under any circumstance.

     Commending Ashford Castle on its win, FTG referenced how the hotel had achieved global gold standards during such a challenging year for the hospitality industry, in which Ashford Castle continued to demonstrate its wonderful five-star service and hospitality to guests and particularly, despite the global pandemic.

    “Our 2021 award winners are a testament to the resiliency of the hospitality industry,” said Filip Boyen, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide. “During an unprecedented time, Ashford Castle along with other top properties across the world adapted to numerous adversities, all while maintaining high service levels and ensuring the health security of their guests and staff.” 

    With 83 rooms and suites, together with a hideaway cottage, Ashford Castle is set in a spectacular 350-acre estate in Cong, Co. Mayo and is part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection and a member of Leading Hotels of the World. 

    Forbes Travel Guide started in 1958 as Mobil Travel Guide, a guidebook for US motorists. Creating the original Five-Star rating system, it is the only independent, global rating agency for luxury hospitality.  Providing reviews and ratings for more than 60 years, Forbes Travel Guide is the oldest travel guide in the United States and its inspection process is regarded as the gold standard in hospitality. 


  • Mayo's Ashford Castle and the Ice House Hotel were among the winners last night at the Hotel & Catering Review Gold Medal Awards.

    Now in their 30th year, the awards recognise and reward excellence in hospitality and catering operations across the island of Ireland, and were presented at a gala dinner last night in Kilkenny.

    The 2018 Supreme Winner was Adare Manor in Limerick.

    The award for Ireland's Fine Dining Hotel Restaurant went to Ashford Castle in Cong, while Ashford Castle also took the award for Ireland's Best Wine Experience.

    The Ice House Hotel in Ballina won the award for Ireland's Best Hotel Website.

    Elsewhere in the West, Kilronan Castle Estate in Co Roscommon was named Ireland's Best Wedding Hotel, while Ireland's Best 4-star hotel is Ballynahinch Castle in Galway.


  • Ashford Castle in Cong has been named the Romantic Hotel of the Year at the second Irish Hospitality Awards held in Dublin yesterday.

    The awards are a celebration of the success of local professionals and establishments. The winners are a true reflection of high standard and customer service as they are chosen by members of the general public.

    The Lodge Hotel at Ashford Castle was named Boutique Hotel of the Year at the ceremony in the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

    Galmont Hotel and Spa in Galway was named Resort of the Year.

    Rocksberry Bed & Breakfast in Castlebar was named B&B of the Year in the West, while Guiry’s Bar in Foxford was named Pub of the year in the West.

    House of Plates in Castlebar was named Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year in the West.

    Munroe’s Live in Galway was named the overall Live Entertainment Venue of the Year.

  • A popular US baking magazine, called Bake from Scratch, has dedicated its entire July/August issue to Ireland’s culinary scene. The ‘Authentic Ireland’ edition features recipes and interviews with many local food producers, as well as some of Ireland’s top ‘foodie’ experiences – including afternoon tea in Ashford Castle in Cong county Mayo.

     Bake from Scratch has a print circulation of 150,000 and a digital monthly reach of around 30 million readers.

     Earlier this year, Tourism Ireland in the United States partnered with premier kitchen and home furnishings retailer Williams Sonoma and Bake from Scratch magazine. As part of the collaboration, a team of editors from Bake from Scratch and Williams Sonoma – together with a videographer, photographer and five food and lifestyle bloggers – visited in January to capture content for the ‘Authentic Ireland’ edition.

     The resulting July/August magazine features an article profiling Ashford Castle.

  • The managers of Ashford Castle and The Lodge at Ashford are among 29 business leaders who will sleep rough in Galway tomorrow night, to raise funds for COPE Galway.

    This is the 9th annual Business Leaders Sleep Out.

    Niall Rochford, general manager of Ashford Castle, Peter Fergus, manager of The Lodge at Ashford, GMIT President Dr Orla Flynn and Galway City Council manager Brendan McGrath will joins business owners, CEOs and managers in sleeping out on Shop Street over 12 hours tomorrow night, to raise awareness and funds for COPE Galway's Homeless Services.

    In keeping with Covid-19 restrictions, the participants will be divided into small, separate pods with hygiene and social distancing in place.

    COPE Galway says the ongoing shortage of suitable and affordable housing continues to be a challenge, as they support people in moving out of homelessness and securing a home of their own.

    The Business Sleep Out is the charity's largest fundraising event, raising €850,000 over the past 8 years, and donations to the business leaders taking part can be made online at COPE Galway's website.


    Ashford Castle in Cong has been named the Best Hotel in the Country, at the 2018 National Hospitality Awards.

    The Mayo hotel claimed the honour in Dublin yesterday.

    Ballynahinch Castle Hotel in Connemara was named Best Destination Hotel, while also in Co Galway, the award for Best Dining Experience went to Inis Meain Restaurant & Suites, and Lowry's Irish Music & Whiskey Bar in Galway was named Best Traditional Pub.


  • Ashford Castle in Cong has been singled out for an award in recognition of the way in which it has championed and supported its guests throughout 2020 and specifically, in the face of the pandemic. 

    The team at Ashford Castle was today announced Leading Hotels of the World’s Customer Champion, for the efforts staff have gone to for their guests during the pandemic.

    The mammoth efforts from the team in Cong were recognised ahead of more than 400 renowned luxury hotels in 80 countries worldwide.

    The hotel proactively introduced a flexible cancellation policy and quickly put in place a range of measures to promote and support healthy and safe stays – without diminishing the exceptional five-star experience for which it is known.  Ashford Castle offered full refunds when travel plans changed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

    Niall Rochford, general manager of Ashford Castle said: “Hotels the world over had to adapt quickly to the COVID crisis and have done so brilliantly.  But it takes a very special team to stand out from its industry peers.  The team in the castle has gone to extraordinary lengths for our guests and I could not be more proud of them. 

     Ashford Castle was the first hotel in Ireland to be awarded the Global Bio-risk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation, for the implementation of rigorous protocols in response to bio-risk situations, such as COVID-19.   The international accreditation verifies that Ashford Castle implements best practices to prepare for, respond to and recover from pandemics, ensuring that the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention are employed.

  • Staff at one of Ireland's best-known hotels are very excited about welcoming back guests from today.

    Ashford Castle in Cong is rolling out the red carpet, after being closed for 154 days.

    It comes as hotels, B&Bs, hostels and self-catering accommodation across the region reopen their doors for the first time this year, in a further easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

    Niall Rochford, general manager of the 5-star Ashford Castle told Midwest News they're really looking forward to welcoming back guests.....

  • Ashford Castle in Cong has been voted the number one resort hotel in the UK and Ireland by readers of leading US travel magazine Travel & Leisure.

    Readers praised its beautiful property and the "magical experience" of the 13th-century Mayo castle.

    Seven other Irish hotels made the top 10 list.

    Tourism Ireland says the accolades are extremely welcome as the industry looks to plan for the recovery of overseas tourism.




  • Ashford Castle and sister hotel, The Lodge at Ashford are the first hotels in Ireland where guests can avail of an onsite Covid-19 PCR test, with results available within 12 hours.

    Working in partnership with Communicare Medical Supplies and available now, tests will be carried out by a medical professional in a dedicated test room, or in the guest’s own room if preferred, and results and certs will be issued by email.

     Niall Rochford, general manager of the two hotels in Cong, says the convenience of being able to take a PCR test while on holiday will really help domestic market guests who want the reassurance of a negative test before returning home or going back to work.  However, the test service will be of particular benefit to international guests. International guests will be welcome from July 19, all of whom will require a negative PCR test if travelling onwards or heading home after their holiday in Ireland.

    Communicare Medical Supplies is an experienced provider and is headquartered in Mayo, and advocates a testing approach that aims to get as many individuals tested in a timeframe that is as short and safe as possible.

    Ashford Castle and The Lodge at Ashford were the first hotels in Ireland to be awarded the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation, for the implementation of rigorous protocols in response to biorisk situations, such as Covid-19.   The international accreditation verifies that both Ashford Castle and The Lodge implement best practices to prepare for, respond to and recover from pandemics, ensuring that the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention are employed.

    Bookings can be made at each hotel’s respective Guest Services department in advance of or during a stay. For more information and costs   /           

  • The Spa at Ashford Castle has been named ‘Ireland’s Best Hotel Spa’ in the 2020 World Spa Awards for the fifth consecutive year.

    Michelle Ryan, Spa Manager at Ashford Castle says they are thrilled that so many people have once again voted for The Spa at Ashford Castle. 

    “It’s an amazing honour but more importantly, is a testament to our skilled therapists and all the team at The Spa at Ashford who ensure each guest’s visit is special”.

    The state-of-the-art spa is built into the side of an 800-year old castle with spectacular views both inside and out.

    The awards were announced this week following a record number of votes from both consumers and professionals working in the spa and wellness industry.

    The Spa uses luxury Irish products from Voya, as well as Red Carnation Hotels’ own B|Africa product range.

  • Ashford Castle in Cong took two national awards last night at the annual Gold Medal Awards.

    While Breaffy House Hotel and Resort in Castlebar won Ireland’s Family Friendly Award, and Aramark at Mayo University Hospital scooped the title of Ireland’s Healthcare Caterer

    Now in their 31st year, the Gold Medal Awards are recognised as the leading independent awards programme for the Irish hospitality industry.
    Judged by industry experts, the Hotel & Catering Review Gold Medal Awards recognise and reward excellence in hospitality and catering operations across the island of Ireland.

    The awards were presented at a black-tie gala dinner last night at the Lyrath Estate Hotel, Kilkenny.

    Ashford Castle took the national titles in the categories Ireland’s 5 Star Resorts and Ireland’s Wine Experience.

    Markree Castle in Sligo took the Connaught regional award as Ireland’s Favourite Place to Stay

  • Plans by the owners of Ashford Castle in Cong to construct a 5-star hotel in Dublin City have been appealed.

    Dublin City Council has given permission to Red Carnation Hotels Ltd for the conversion and extension of a former Jesuit university students' residence at Hatch Hall into a boutique 60-bedroom hotel.

    However, a local resident has lodged an appeal against the development with An Bord Pleanala, claiming the hotel project should be refused permission across seven separate headings.

    Currently, just 12 of the 214 hotels in Dublin are 5-star, and a spokesman for Red Carnation Hotels said the development would ensure that the building is restored and conserved, protecting it into the future.

    A decision on the appeal is due in August.

  • Rumours are circulating that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are spending time in Co Mayo as part of their honeymoon.

    Reports emerged online last night that Prince Harry and his new bride Megan Markle may be spending time at Ashford Castle this week.

    The location is closed to the public this week and there are reports of heavy security around the perimeters.

    It has not been confirmed who is staying there but there are reports it is the newly married couple.

  • There were two Mayo winners at the 2018 Bar of the Year Awards, which were announced last night in Dublin.

    The Bar Manager of the Year award went to Noli Alngohuro of Ashford Castle in Cong.

    The Gastro Bar Food of the Year award was won by the Tavern in Murrisk, near Westport.

    This is the 12th year of the Bar of the Year Awards, which are considered the premium awards for the licensed trade.





  • The economy of this region has been severely hit by the loss of millions of euro worth of revenue from international tourists over the last 12 months. That’s the view of Niall Rochford, general manager, Ashford Castle and The Lodge at Ashford.

    He has welcomed the statement this week by European President, Ursula von der Leyen that US tourists vaccinated against COVID-19, will be able to visit the EU in the coming months.

    He is urging the Irish government to give serious, and early consideration to the possibility of allowing inbound travel from the US for fully vaccinated tourists by later this year.

    At the moment, he says, tourists from the US are holidaying in the Caribbean and if Ireland is to have any hope of reviving its overseas tourism market this year, it needs fully vaccinated US tourists to come safely to Cong and Cork, Connemara and Carlow instead. 

    Niall has been speaking to Midwest News Editor Teresa O'Malley...