The Lodge offers country house charm, varied dining options, and incredible views of Lough Corrib and the hills of Connemara. As well as that, it has everything you need for an activity packed yet relaxed trip away for parents with children of all ages.
In this guide, I’ve shared an honest review based on my family’s recent stay at The Lodge at Ashford Castle. From the family room set up, fun things to do, and where to eat.
Plus, I’ve included tips on exploring the nearby village of Cong, and some final pointers to help you get the very most from your stay.
The Lodge At Ashford Castle: Family Stay Review
How to Get to The Lodge at Ashford Castle:
The Lodge at Ashford Castle is located within the grounds of the Ashford Castle estate, near the village of Cong, Co Mayo. If you’re driving, when you drive into Ashford estate you will be immediately captivated by the spectacular views of the Castle and Lough Corrib. It really is a breathtaking sight. Make sure to stop for a minute and soak it up.
Family Rooms at The Lodge at Ashford Castle:
We travel a lot as a family of four, and family room set up at The Lodge at Ashford Castle was among the best we’ve experienced to date. They offer a selection of rooms that accommodate a range of family’s sizes and preferences. Adjoining bedrooms means parents and kids can have separate bedrooms, while still keeping all the family together.
We stayed in a Quay Suite, which had two king beds and a separate living area with a couch – which can be converted into a bed in the evening.
Alternatively, a family of three can opt for a Duplex Suite. They’ll prepare a sofa bed in the downstairs living room for your child, while parents can enjoy the privacy of the upstairs bedroom in the suite.
Many of the ground floor rooms enjoy their own private outdoor terrace, with doors opening out onto a small garden area with garden seating. Note that these patios are not sealed off, so kids need to be supervised.
Family Friendly Activities at The Lodge at Ashford Castle:
Let me put it this way, your family won’t be bored during your stay at The Lodge at Ashford Castle. In this section, I’ll cover just some of the facilities available that will without a doubt keep every family member entertained throughout your stay.
The 350 acre estate is a treasure trove for fun and activity. From Ireland’s first falconry school and zip-wiring, to tennis, biking, tree-climbing and kayaking. There are two tennis courts at the back of the castle, located right by the estates pristine gardens which you can also visit.
Situated within easy walking distance of the castle, the equestrian centre was a highlight of the trip my for boys. As complete beginners, they enjoyed private riding lessons with an experienced guide. Hard hats and Jodhpur boots are provided.
For the more experienced, trail rides are offered throughout the beautiful woodland paths, along shores of Lough Corrib, and into the mountains of Connemara to the west.
Biking is a fun way to explore the estate as a family. We brought three bikes of our own, and rented a forth from the Lodge. Bike rental is free of charge and on first come first serve basis, so bear that in mind.
We also enjoyed one of Ashford’s boat tours. We opted for the 11am tour which lasted for one hour – perfect for small kids. A two hour boat tour is also available, complete with live Irish trad music on board.
The estate also boasts a 9-hole course. My husband Gilmar rented golf clubs and shoes from the Mrs Tea Boutique Shop next to the Golf Course. If one of your family wants to squeeze in 9 holes on their trip, the course took him 1hr 30 minutes to complete.
Dining at The Lodge at Ashford Castle:
Breakfast at the Lodge is definitely a 5-star experience, and is served daily in Wilde’s Restaurant. We enjoyed a three course breakfast with options to suit every family member and preference. Special requests are readily accommodated. As with all dining options at Ashford, the menu champions local and seasonal produce – much of it foraged from the Estate or grown in The Lodge’s own poly tunnels. Fresh juices and smoothies are made every day – always a sign of a superior hotel breakfast!
There are two restaurants at the Lodge: Wilde’s at The Lodge and The Quay Bar and Brasserie. Both offer Junior guests’ menus (that are above and beyond the usual options), and sublime views of Lough Corrib.
Wilde’s Restaurant is the more formal dining experience at the Lodge. Under the steer of chef Jonathan Keane, the menu is a showcase of the world class ingredients that this region produces. The Irish beef fillet steak was among the best I’ve ever tasted.
The Quay Bar and Brasserie is situated on the ground floor of lodge. It’s a comfortable, welcoming and informal setting, the perfect lunch and dinner spot after a busy day of activities. My top tip is to order the oysters – fresh and delicious.
Cullen’s Cottage is another superb dining option with in the estate, just a few minutes from the Lodge. We enjoyed a succulent Rotisserie Chicken that I would highly recommend ordering.
Of course, Ashford Castle itself is a renowned dining destination, with a number of restaurants and bars to choose from. We didn’t get to visit during our stay, however the George V Dining Room tasting menu reads like a dream gastronomic experience. Definitely one for the list.
Cong is best known as the location of the 1952 Oscar-winning movie, The Quiet Man. It lives up to it’s cinematic glory, and truly is a charming and welcoming village to explore. The village is a short easy cycle from the estate, and you could easily walk too.
More than just a pretty place, the small village has a lot to offer. There’s boutique art craft shops (with takeaway coffees and pastries on offer), a pharmacy and mini supermarket . There are plenty of historic buildings too, and even a Quiet Man statue and museum.
As mentioned, you can book fishing at the estate, however, if you have your own fishing gear, there are plenty of opportunities by the picturesque river in Cong village.
Tips & Final Thoughts
To finish, I want to share some final tips and thoughts to help you get the most out of your trip to The Lodge at Ashford Castle. It can’t be understated just how much there is to do within the estate. We didn’t leave the estate for the duration of our three day stay, aside from a trip to Cong village.
We had been in Galway a few days prior to our visit, touring around Connemara, and planned to recharge our batteries at Ashford. While our days were packed with activities, having everything within the estate meant it was all at a relaxed pace. If you’re stay is longer, or you want to get out and about, there are beaches nearby that you can visit too.
Just to note, with Covid-19 restrictions still in place, we made sure to book all meals and activities in advance.
Finally, the Lodge at Ashford Castle is in the process of constructing a pool and spa. These are due to be open from Autumn 2021. This is one activity we felt was missing for the kids on rainy days. We’re looking forward to this added element on our next stay.
You can read more about family staycation in Galway here.