Spend St. Pattie's Day at a Real Irish Castle
(County Mayo, Ireland) – It’s true that St. Patrick’s Day is among the biggest holidays in the U.S., likely celebrated by more people than even in Ireland.
But why not do the real thing for this St. Pattie's Day – doing the holiday old school-style?
This March, Ashford Castle is inviting guests to the Emerald Isle for the ultimate Irish celebration - complete with a visit to the 5th-century church of St. Patrick himself, a soda bread cooking class and a traditional dinner in an Irish family's home.
Guests can book either a two- or three-night package, and the itinerary includes:
DAY 1 (March 17): Arrival at leisure.
7pm - Depart castle for short stroll to Cullen's at the Cottage, accompanied by Benny the Piper, where guests join the "Irish Céilí" (traditional Irish party) with an Irish-themed menu, music and dance.
DAY 2 (March 18): Breakfast at leisure in the George V dining room
10:45am: Boat trip to the Island of Inchagoill and visit to the 5th-century Church of St. Patrick and the most precious stone of Lugnad. The story of St. Patrick will be explained on board by Patrick Luskin, historian and ship captain.
7pm: Dinner, using the finest locally sourced ingredients, in the hotel's Connaught Room and accompanied by Ashford Castle's in-house harpist.
9:30pm: Gift of the Gab: Irish storytelling - with all the humor thrown in.
DAY 3 (March 19): Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, followed by a fond farewell – or continue to breakfast in the George V dining room and a further schedule.
10:30am: Irish soda bread cooking lesson with Ashford Castle's Executive Chef Stefan Matz.
11:30am: "The Art of Guinness Pouring" class with Ashford Castle's barman
1 pm: St. Patrick's Day games available on the estate, including treasure hunt and a "Long Puck" (Puc fada) hurling competition
7 pm: Traditional dinner in an Irish family's home.
10:30 pm: Viewing of The Quiet Man, the 1952 romance starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara that was shot entirely on location at Ashford Castle and its environs.
Based on double occupancy, the two-night package is priced from €385 (approximately US$532) per person, and the three-night package is priced from €485 (approximately US$670) per person.
Ashford Castle, which dates back to 1228, is set on 350 acres of County Mayo, on the shores of Lough Corrib and the River Cong, with a spectacular backdrop of woodlands, lake, river and mountains.
For more information, visit: www.ashford.ie.