A Castle, A Royal, and A Woodcock Reunite In Ireland
There’s a headline we never thought we’d write. The fact that we did, and can make a plausible connection between the Windsors, a species of wading birds, and an Irish castle, is due to one thing: a photograph that was taken over a century ago, in 1905 to be exact. We’ll explain.
Back then, Ashford Castle was owned by the Guinness family, which invited the then Prince of Wales to come up to Ireland to hunt. Five months after the “Woodcock Shoot” took place, and the 1905 photograph was taken, the Prince ascended to the British throne as King George V, which makes him the grandfather of QE II, and of course, a few generations on, the ancestor of little Prince George of Cambridge. Earlier this month, Peter Phillips, eldest grandson of Queen Elizabeth, joined a Woodcock shoot to recreate the century-old image and celebrate the upcoming Diamond Jubilee of Ashford Castle.
The 'new' Woodcock shoot, with third from left Peter Phillips
While the Diamond Jubilee celebration at Ashford is to mark its 75 years as a hotel, parts of the property date back as far as 1228. Inside, there are 83 rooms and suites to choose from, decorated in sufficiently traditional style to live out any Downton Abbey fantasies you may harbor. If you were to get bored indoors pretending to be Lord or Lady Grantham, there are the 350 acres of the estate to ramble around in, with activities ranging from clay-pigeon shooting to golf.
Ashford Castle will be closing for renovation from January 5 to March 31 next year. Bed & breakfast rates start from £300 ($490) a night in April.
[Photos: Ashford Castle]