The architecture of Ashford Castle dates from several eras. The oldest section is a 13th-century Norman castle that once belonged to the de Burgh family. A house styled like a French château (the original Ashford House) was added in the 18th century. Between 1875 and 1881, Sir Arthur Guinness, who had inherited Ashford House from his father Benjamin, worked with architect Joseph Fuller to build this enormous home incorporating both the castle and the chateau. The Castle was sold in 2007 for €50 million to a Galway-based property investor Gerry Barrett and a few years later, it was put on the market again for €25 million! In 2012 it was voted the best resort in Ireland and the third best in Europe by Condé Nast Traveler. In its time the castle has played host to many notable guests, including: King George V, John Lennon, Oscar Wilde, Ronald Reagan, Ted Kennedy, Brad Pitt, Prince Rainier of Monaco and Princess Grace. In 1951, Cong and the castle were used in many scenes of what would become a movie classic, The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.

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