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Iconic Ashford Castle set for facelift to mark 75th anniversary

Enda Cunningham



The iconic Ashford Castle is preparing for its 75th anniversary next year – by undergoing a major refurbishment that will restore the historic hotel to its former glory.

But the Castle’s new owners going further than just planning a tasteful facelift – phase one will see the renovation and redesign of 30 guest rooms as well as the addition of a cinema and a billiard room.

And the second phase includes possible plans for a swimming pool and a wellness area, but a timescale for that work has yet to be finalised.

The revamp of the world-famous hotel – purchased last year by the Red Carnation Hotel Group – has already started and will be ongoing for two years. The hotel will be closed from January until March 2014 to facilitate some of the more extensive work.

Ashford Castle General Manager Niall Rochford said he was looking forward to the new changes at the hotel.

“We have some nice, interesting plans for the castle. Our new owners Bea and Stanley Tollman are wonderful. They have 60 years of experience in the hotel business, they know the industry and also what it takes to really create a top level successful hotel,” he said.

“All renovation works will be done very sensitively and the furniture still left from the time when the Guinness family lived here, will remain. The new owners are very careful with the history and heritage of the castle and also understand that it has to be of time and place,” he added.

The new owners have already guaranteed the jobs of the existing staff – but Mr Rochford said they also had plans to increase the number of employees into the future.

“In the previous environment, having gone through receivership, nothing was secure. It was a huge relief for everybody employed at Ashford that the hotel is now debt free. Mr and Mrs Tollman will look at Ashford in the long term not as developers but as hoteliers,” he said.

There are also plans for improving the grounds and gardens at the premises.

“What we would like to achieve is to bring the grounds back to where Lady Ardilaun had wanted them to be. Ashford is very special to us; therefore, we will pay greater attention to preserving the unique, old trees and plants in the castle garden, as well as grow our own vegetables on castle grounds,” revealed the General Manager.

The aim is to give Ashford a new look while still keeping its original charm. Guests can look forward to more comfort, new interior design and ‘tiny nice touches’ combined with the old castle feeling and history.

For more on this story, see the current edition of the Connacht Tribune 

Connacht Tribune

Connacht Tribune tributes to loved ones




These past few months have seen so many communities left to silently mourn family members and friends, whose funerals they would have attended in such numbers, were it not for the current Covid-19 restrictions.

But those that are gone have not been, and will not be, forgotten – which is why we want to open the pages of the Connacht Tribune to you to tell their stories.

If you’ve lost a loved one, whether to Covid-19 or not, or if your community or organization or sports club is mourning the death of a valued member and friend, you can email us your tribute and we will publish it in our papers.


All you have to do it to click on the above link, and it will take you to a short set of questions which you can fill in – and then add whatever you feel tells the story of the life of your friend, family member or colleague.

You can email that with a photograph to us, to or you can post it to ‘Obituaries’, Connacht Tribune, 21 Liosban Business Park – and please enclose a contact number in case we have any queries.

We sympathise with anyone who has lost a loved one at this awful time, particularly given that so many people were unable to mourn with them and their family in person – and we hope that this will help in some small way to show those family members that we are all united in grief, even from a distance.

This is an additional feature we are providing alongside our long-established weekly Family Notices section where loved ones are remembered immediately by Months Mind Notices and annual anniversary remembrances.  You can contact our team for further details at

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WATCH: The Olivers to the rescue … again!

Enda Cunningham



Father and son rescue team Patrick and Morgan Oliver were back in action in Salthill this morning, when they helped a swimmer who got into difficulty.

A member of the public raised the alarm at around 10.30am and the Coastguard sought the assistance of Galway Lifeboat who launched from Galway Docks.

Two members of the lifeboat shore crew made their way to the promenade to assist in the rescue.

Patrick and Morgan Oliver were fishing off Salthill at the time and spotted the man taking refuge on Palmers Rock about 200 metres from Salthill shore. They took him on board their fishing boat and brought him back to Galway Docks. Galway Lifeboat in the meantime was stood down. 

The man was taken into the Lifeboat station where he received treatment for symptoms of hypothermia until an ambulance arrived.

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Assurances given on progress of road, bridge and bus projects

Francis Farragher



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It will take time and a lot of money, but the city’s network of major transport projects will proceed on schedule – that was the assurance given this week to councillors by City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath.

Councillors had expressed concerns at their meeting on Monday about the slow rate of progress being made with major capital projects including two new pedestrian bridges over the River Corrib.

However, Brendan McGrath told the meeting that the timelines for the range of capital transport projects – while challenging – were reasonable, pragmatic and achievable.

“All of the projects are moving forward but we must adhere to all the procedures and the different stages that have to be complied with: we have no choice in that,” said Brendan McGrath.

Senior City Council Engineer, Uinsinn Finn, in reply to a number of queries about potential new bus routes, said that while the Council worked closely with Bus Éireann and the bus companies, the local authority didn’t decide on the routes.

Earlier in the meeting, Cllr Peter Keane (FF), asked ‘how it could take 63 months’ to deliver a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the Corrib even though the piers (old Corrib Railway Line) were already in place for the project.

“How can it take over five years to put a bridge like this over the Corrib,” he asked, after hearing that this €11 million Greenways-linked project would not be completed until 2026.

There is a snappier timescale for the Salmon Weir Pedestrian/Cycle Bridge – to be located adjacent to the existing structure on the southern side – with planning consent expected by next Summer and a completion date set for the end of 2022.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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