Day 7: Ashford Castle

Founded in 1228 by the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family and later home to Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness (1798-1868), brewer and first Lord Mayor of Dublin, Ashford Castle in Mayo County today is a five star hotel situated on 350 acres.

Ashford for Tricia

We didn’t stay there.

We did, however, enjoy lunch on the premises, admiring the fine furnishings on the way to the Prince of Wales Bar. After a bowl of tomato and gin soup, a gourmet BLT, and a little champagne, we moved outdoors. There we encountered a trail of toddlers on ponies returning to the Castle’s stables.

Ashford Portrait

Ashford Ponies

 

 

 

 

One reason we were interested in seeing Ashford–other than its history– was we knew it had hosted Pierce Brosnan and Keely Shaye Smith’s wedding reception in August of 2001. First married in nearby Ballintubber* Abbey, afterwards they danced to Bruce Springsteen’s “If I Should Fall Behind” before breaking into a jig played by the Irish group, The Chieftains.

When it was time to exchange wedding gifts, Mrs. Brosnan surprised her husband with  a three-quarter ton ice sculpture of Rodin’s “The Kiss,” a reproduction of which is depicted here.

The Kiss

A second reason we were intrigued by the castle was it was where much of the cast stayed during the filming of John Ford’s The Quiet Man (1951), starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. A number of principal filming locations were in Cong, just a few minutes’ walk from Ashford.

That was our next stop.

*You have to love some of these Irish names. We passed through “Letterfrak” every day later in our trip. But Ballintubber may have that beat.

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Author: Tricia Pimental

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Tricia Pimental's second memoir, A Movable Marriage, has received 5 Star reviews from both Epic Book Quest and Readers' Favorite. It's available on Amazon in both Kindle (amzn.to/1RtRBwp) and print (amzn.to/1OiGlUU) versions. She is also the author of two Royal Palm Literary Award Competition-honored books: Rabbit Trail: How a Former Playboy Bunny Found Her Way, and Slippery Slopes. Other work has appeared in International Living Magazine; A Janela, the quarterly magazine of International Women in Portugal; and anthologies compiled by the Florida Writers Association and the National League of American Pen Women. A member of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and a former Toastmaster, Ms. Pimental resides in Portugal. She can be reached at www.triciapimental.com and on Twitter @Tricialafille.

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