Irish Castle Gets Spirit of Christmas and Harry Potter
(County Mayo, Ireland) – It's a double-whammy for the holidays from the Irish destination Ashford Castle, which presents a Harry Potter take on Halloween for kids and their parents, and then gets especially warm and fuzzy on Christmas. Two new special programs highlight these holidays with a serious touch of magic.
Harry Potter's magical world of witches and wizards will materialize this Halloween at Ashford Castle, where kids (and adults) are invited for a special Hogwarts Halloween. Although this program is new, elements of magic and sorcery at Ashford Castle date back to 1228 when the castle was built - a time when magic in Europe was the norm.
With inspiration in the castle's secret rooms, hidden alcoves and mystical setting among secluded woodlands between Lough Corrib and River Cong, Ashford Castle is an ideal breeding ground for magicians in the making. The special Hogwarts Halloween program itineraries are as follows:
Day One: Visit to the hiding place of Dingle, Ashford Castle's resident owl. Afternoon Chamber of Witchcraft & Wizardry. Kids' dinner in the Dungeon. George V Table d'Hôte dinner for Mum and Dad. Harry Potter movie in the evening.
Day Two: Isle of Innisfree passage to Inchagoill Island via boat. Hidden garden treasure hunt. Kids' dinner in the Dungeon. George V Table d'Hôte dinner for Mum and Dad. Harry Potter movie evening.
The two-night package, valid October 23 through November 2, 2009, is priced at €475 (approximately US$690) per night and is based on two adults and two children (under the age of 12) sharing in a deluxe queen room.
Ashford Castle is set on 350 acres in County Mayo and is renowned for a range of country sports including an equestrian center, fly fishing, an exclusive nine-hole golf course and Ireland's first school of falconry. The castle's 83 guestrooms and suites along with several dining rooms and bars and a gracious afternoon tea service are among the amenities.
In December, Ashford Castle will offer a special three-night Christmas Package that includes luxurious accommodations for the entire family, a wide range of holiday activities and a visit from Mr. Claus himself.
On Christmas Eve, the castle’s Niall Rochford, General Manager, welcomes guests with an Irish tradition of mulled wine and mince pies. The evening then unfolds with a cocktail reception and dinner in the George V Dining Room as Ireland's West Quartet plays in the background.
After dinner, Santa Claus arrives with presents for everyone, followed by a performance of the St. Mary's Children's Church Choir. Then, warmed up and spirited, guests dance the night away to the music of the Avengers Show Band.
On Christmas Day, after a hearty Irish breakfast in the George V Dining Room, Christmas morning options include golf on the estate grounds, a cruise on Lough Corrib, the annual Christmas Treasure Hunt or simply a rest by the nearest fireplace. Cocktails, a “Gala Dinner” and more dancing round out the holiday, and the night wouldn't be complete without a midnight snack of mulled wine and mince pies.
On St. Stephen's Day, after breakfast with the Larry Hingerton Jazz Band in the George V Dining Room, guests set off for a cruise along Lough Corrib. Afterwards, some of Ashford Castle's culinary secrets will be revealed in a cooking demonstration, and a range of activities are available for the afternoon, including a guided walk on the castle grounds with local historian Mick May. Dinner in the George V restaurant and entertainment by The Molloy Brothers round out the night.
Rates for the Christmas Package start at €2,950 (approximately US$4,405) for single occupancy, and €1,850 (approximately US$2,760) per person for double occupancy. .
Ashford Castle is set on 350 acres in County Mayo, on the shores of Lough Corrib and the River Cong, with a spectacular backdrop of woodlands, lake, river and mountains. It features 83 guestrooms and suites and is renowned for a range of country sports including horseback riding, fly fishing, golf on an exclusive nine-hole course and Ireland's first school of falconry.
For reservations or more information: visit www.ashford.ie.