Ashford Castle Grounds, County Mayo
Ireland’s grandest castle hotel, with a history dating back to the early 13th Century, Ashford Castle is set in 350 acres (142 hectares) of parkland, and anyone who loves beautiful surroundings will be thrilled to visit the gardens and grounds - or maybe even stay there! Grandeur, formality and tranquillity are the essential characteristics, first seen in the approach through well manicured lawns, in the entrance and formal gardens. Once inside you'll find a succession of impressive public rooms that illustrate a long and proud history – panelled walls, oil paintings, balustrades, suits of armour and magnificent fireplaces.
Although the castle dates back to 1228, the gardens as we see them today consist almost entirely of the layouts conceived and executed by Sir Benjamin Guinness and his successors the Ardilauns from 1852 onwards. Comparing the early ordinance survey map and the later one in 1889 shows very clearly how the garden was created between these dates. Comprising of 300 acres (121 hectares) Ashford grounds are a delight to the garden enthusiast as well as the casual observer. A great variety of native and imported trees tower over the various lawns and walks throughout the gardens. Many of the trees dating back to the extensive mid 19th Century plantings.
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