Luxurious with old school service

With its picturesque lakeside setting simply exterior the charming village of Cong, and attentive private service, The Lodge is ideal for a getaway

Fergus McDonnell will get to babysit one of many youthful sheepdogs

Luxurious with old school service

IT’S not The Truman Present – that 1990s sci-fi romp the place Jim Carrey grew up on what was basically the set of a actuality TV present, a city populated by actors the place Truman Burbank was the one one not in on the key as tv viewers adopted his each transfer.


IT’S not The Truman Present – that 1990s sci-fi romp the place Jim Carrey grew up on what was basically the set of a actuality TV present, a city populated by actors the place Truman Burbank was the one one not in on the key as tv viewers adopted his each transfer.

No, Cong is not any Seahaven, nevertheless it does resemble a theme-park devoted to the enduring 1950s Hollywood movie, The Quiet Man. And why not? The setting is nothing in need of gorgeous and the quaint streets, pubs and retailers seem untouched since John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara immortalised Sean Thornton and Mary Kate Danaher.

And the locals? Effectively, they don’t seem to be actors, however they do play their half. Throughout our transient go to, there was no scarcity of American vacationers following within the footsteps of a few of their most acclaimed residents. And in the event that they drop right into a pub for a glass of one thing and a chew to eat, they’ll benefit from the feeling of being transported again in time. The simple attraction of the locals provides to the expertise and in the event that they ever tire of listening to the identical observations or being requested the identical questions, they do not present it.

We weren’t, sadly, blessed with one of the best of climate for our go to to The Lodge at Ashford Fortress, so we had been denied the pleasure of strolling any a part of the 350-acre property, we had been unable to benefit from the nine-hole golf course, cruising on Lough Corrib was a pleasure denied to us and even having fun with the magnificent views needed to be achieved from indoors.

That feels like a little bit of a moist squib you may suppose, however you would be incorrect. There’s an outdated saying that nobody goes on vacation in Eire for the climate and a barely newer one which hails the three most essential attributes of property as location, location and site.

So even when the solar refuses to shine, you may nonetheless bask within the heat of the hospitality of your hosts. It sounds easy, nevertheless it’s not a simple factor to get proper. The workers at some lodges, in an effort to make sure your consolation, could be a little bit, let’s assume, overbearing. However not right here.

The Lodge at Ashford Fortress have to be an incredible place to work as a result of the workers by no means give the impression that they might fairly be someplace else. They’re out there with out being intrusive, with out seeming to pry and principally simply being pleasant and useful in a manner that by no means appears compelled.

With our automotive parked for us and our luggage dropped at our room, it was time to settle into our lodging. Our Quay Suite, uniquely designed and furnished and with a separate sitting room, supplied loads of house to stretch your legs. The toilet boasts luxurious services, together with a rainforest bathe that you simply will not wish to go away, whereas the king-size mattress with down pillows and duvets is the final phrase in consolation.

There are many locations inside the lodge to take a seat and skim or get pleasure from a quiet drink and there’s a selection of consuming choices. Wilde’s Restaurant was voted Lodge Restaurant of The 12 months in 2018 and gives advantageous Irish delicacies, whereas the Quay Bar and Brasserie guarantees a extra casual expertise with views over the lake and the consolation of a turf hearth.

The simple attraction of the workers was prolonged on a visit that took us out in the direction of the Connemara Nationwide Park, the place round each bend you see an indication welcoming you to Co Mayo, or again to Co Galway as you straddle the border all the way in which to Clonbur on the shores of Lough Nafooey and the Joyce Nation Sheepdogs. If there is a extra spectacular location to stay and work then we might prefer to learn about it.

Joe Joyce can stand at his entrance door and gaze throughout the huge expanse of water to the mountain past that’s dwelling to his 200 sheep.

There was a time when sheep farming would assist his household, however these days are over. In an entertaining and informative discuss, he informed us that his flock’s fleeces final 12 months yielded the princely sum of €35. That is not €35 every, that is €35 for all 200.

The lambs aren’t way more profitable. He sells them on for round €30 every to be fattened on higher land. So the farm works because of the Authorities and EU subsidies and Joe’s ability as a breeder and coach of border collie sheepdogs. And what a job he does at that.

In a really fulfilling demonstration you get to find out how the canines’ pure herding instincts are harnessed to do what the farmer requires and when he requires it. It is a pleasure to see these animals at work, doing one thing they clearly love and it serves as a precious reminder of the significance of farming to the upkeep of the countryside.

With out the sheep to graze the hillsides, they might rapidly grow to be overgrown, unmanageable and inaccessible to the overall inhabitants.

It could not please animal activists or the more and more vegan-leaning cohorts in our society, however this old school meat-eating, fresh-air loving relic of the previous discovered it fascinating and the Individuals, Germans and different nationalities in our group had been clearly enthralled. Our countryside and the individuals who have a tendency it and preserve it alive, is a wealthy and precious useful resource which we should always nurture and cherish for future generations. And nowhere is Eire’s rugged magnificence extra splendid than in our wild west.

The lodge had geared up us with a packed lunch which might have been excellent for a picnic on a sunny day, however sitting within the automotive with the radio on looking over a lake was the subsequent neatest thing.

There are lots of different issues to do throughout an extended keep at The Lodge, together with biking, fishing, falconry clay pigeon capturing and archery. However most of all it is merely a great place to get away from all of it and benefit from the peace and quiet of the countryside – whereas we nonetheless have it.

Getting there

Secret Sunday Bundle

Escape to The Lodge at Ashford for some true Irish hospitality. Get pleasure from dinner within the Wilde’s restaurant on Sunday night and a luxurious in a single day keep, adopted by full Irish breakfast the next morning and a light-weight lunch within the Quay Bar earlier than you depart.

Provide Contains:

• Luxurious in a single day keep

• Eating expertise in Wilde’s restaurant

• Mild lunch within the Quay Bar

• Full Irish breakfast

• Complimentary 1pm late check-out

• Complementary inexperienced charges, nine-hole golf course


Costs per room from €299

Sunday Unbiased

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