Friday, 12 September 2014

Ashford Castle and 'The Quiet Man.'

A couple of weeks ago we went up to Mayo for the day and visited the lovely village of Cong, famous for the location of  the film 'The Quiet Man,' starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.

This statue in the village depicting the leading stars is dedicated to those who were involved in the production of the 1951 film.

There's a Quiet Man cottage museum and gift shop which has been authentically designed to replicate the 'White-o-Mornin' Cottage, with reproduction furnishings, artifacts and costumes, to give visitors the feeling of being 'on-set.' John Wayne's widow, Josephine, wrote in the visitors book - "Duke would have loved this!" They also do guided walking tours of the locations around Cong village that were used in the film.
 An old Irish telephone box.

Some of the filming of The Quiet Man took place in the grounds of the beautiful Ashford Castle on the shore of Lough Corrib, and several of the films stars stayed there too.

 Originally built in 1228 by the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family, Ashford Castle has been extended extensively over the years. The castle remained in the hands of the de Burgo's for more than 350 years, until 1589, when a battle ensued with the forces of the English official Lord Bingham, governor of Connaught. A truce was agreed and the castle fell into the hands of Lord Bingham.

In 1715, the estate was established by the Oranmore and Browne family and the French style chateau was added and used as a hunting lodge.

Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness (of the world famous Guinness brewery) bought the estate in 1852, which he extended to 26,000 acres, building new roads and planting thousands of trees. He also added two large Victorian style extensions. In 1868 the estate was handed down to his son, Lord Ardilaun, who added further extensions in the neogothic style and was also responsible for the development of the vast woodlands on the estate. Eventually the estate was passed on to Lord Ardilaun's nephew, Ernest Guinness.

In 1915 the estate was retained by the Iveagh trust on behalf of the Guinness family until 1939, when it was bought by Noel Huggard, who turned the castle into a "First Class Hotel."

Today it is a stunning luxury 5 star hotel owned by Red Carnations Hotels.

There is a public right of way on the castle's estate, so people can sit on these nice benches and ponder all day if they like! I know I could quite easily. It's such a lovely tranquil place.

Or sit on the wall and enjoy the views across the Corrib.

We were sorry to leave, but we know we'll be back visiting this lovely castle soon.