Its busy programme of activities makes Ashford Castle an easy year-round destination. During the warmer months, the entire estate springs to life with a myriad things to try out. Outdoorsy types can make the most of the hotel’s al fresco pursuits, from tree-climbing and zip-lining to archery and mountain biking, while discerning foodies and those seeking to get away from it all find plenty to indulge within the castle’s immediate vicinity. Indoors and out, here we outline our favourite activities at Ashford Castle this summer.
Soar through the treetops
Valiant explorers of all ages can fly through the treetops on our tree-climbing adventure course. Set among the branches of one of the estate’s pine-scented forests, it’s a thrilling opportunity to climb, leap and swing through a series of challenges while attached to a safely secured harness. Elsewhere, guests are invited to scale Ireland’s tallest tree. Known as Monty, the Monterey Pine stands at an imposing 164 feet and is thought to have been planted in the late 1800s.
Strike a bullseye
There are few more apt settings to try your hand at the centuries-old sport of archery than the spectacular surroundings of Ashford Castle. Guests have full use of the castle’s state-of-the-art equipment, and everyone over the age of seven, provided they are taller than the bow, is welcome to have a shot. “With a good eye, some patience and the correct technique, teenagers will be giving Robin Hood a run for his money in no time,” says Fiona Finnerty, Ashford Castle’s Estate Activities Coordinator.
From exploring the estate on two wheels to kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding on the glimmering Lough Corrib, Ashford Castle’s summer activities make the most of the glorious weather. Active families can head out on expeditions through the picturesque woodlands and mountainous terrain that surrounds the castle or, for a more leisurely pace, kick back on an open-top boat cruise across the lough.
Meet the residents
Equestrian types can canter out into the Connemara landscape on Ashford Castle’s friendly ponies. Within comfortable walking distance of the castle, trail rides and lessons are available for all ages and abilities, with experienced guides on hand to help or take the reins. Falconry is another of Ashford Castle’s popular activities. Meet our remarkable Harris’ Hawks and fly your own with the help of an expert handler.
“We provide a fantastic off-site activity in partnership with Joyce Country Sheepdogs, as well,” says Finnerty. "Witness a remarkable demonstration of their Border Collies herding the sheep and meet the farm’s gorgeous new-born pups. Closer to home, early risers can greet the new day on a morning walk through the woodlands with the castle’s resident Irish Wolfhounds.”
Fantastic family dining
Eating out with young children can present its challenges, but Ashford Castle’s world-class restaurants are excellently equipped to accommodate diners of all ages. From adaptable seating and special cutlery to thoughtfully considered children’s menus, an enjoyable family meal is guaranteed. For something special, our children’s Afternoon Tea features colourful treats that young guests will love. Alternatively, Cullen’s at the Cottage is a cosy and informal dining option that’s open during the warmer months. Dine al fresco and toast to an incredible family getaway this summer.
Experience an unmissable variety of activities when you visit Red Carnation Hotels’ Ashford Castle.