Monday, March 17, 2008

"Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams..."

One day, when I'm rich and famous... (or at least once my kids are grown and gone!) I have dreams of travelling to Europe. Being that I still have romantic notions about princes of might and valor, pretty princesses, and knights in shining armor, I would love to visit some of the great castles of Europe. One of the very first I would see when venturing to Ireland would be Ashford Castle in Cong, Co Mayo; about 30 miles away from the city of Galway.

It was founded about eight centuries ago (around 1228) by the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family following the defeat of the native O'Connors of Connaught. It served as a mighty fortress for many years to come, and it's ownership changed hands numerous times over the centuries.

As you can clearly see, it's set amidst the backdrop of spectacular forests, lakes, and mountains, and has an almost magical, ethereal quality to it's physical characteristics that stirs up little-girl fantasies of fire breathing dragons and jousting knights attempting to win the hand of a fair maiden.

Although it has undergone many changes over the years, it appears to still retain the beauty of it's former glory. It's actually a hotel/castle now, so people can STAY in it during vacations!

As with most luxury hotels, this has the typical spa treatments and exercise rooms available for its patrons to frequent, but what this particular one has that all the others do NOT is... a school of Falconry! Yes, I'm serious! Isn't that unique? I would definitely have a visit with the school (and the Falconer's not bad, himself, either I might add)!

Around 1985, a group of Irish-American investors actually purchased Ashford Castle and restored it to the luxurious castle that appears before us, today. (In fact, it's certain to be BETTER than ever, because castles were typically not built as places of luxury in their origin, but of necessity). There are hundreds of beautiful acres to the estate where visitors can relax while picnicing, fishing, hiking, etc. in addition to exploring the grand castle itself, gardens, and grounds.

Many rich and famous Americans have stayed within the castle walls (Jack Nicholson, The Reagans, Molly Ringwald, Johnny Cash, Harry Belafonte, John Travolta, and more) and I can't wait until MY name is added to the list of guests! (I better start saving my money NOW, I'm sure!)

So tell me... where do YOU dream of going?!


SoupNumber5 said...

I've seen that castle on Travel Channel. I love the Travel Channel. I'd love to go around the world.Explore every inch if I could. There's always some place I wish to visit.

I went Dominical, Costa Rica last year. Eloped there actually. And, well, I really want to go back. Been thinking of it lately. So remote. So chill. Weather was awesome. Life was pretty simple.

jollyjo said...

I have been to Ireland. Can't say I visited any of the Castles but the country is a beauty to behold and the people are as warm as ever.

KAK said...

HUM..40 some yr old imperfect memory..well rub my nose in it!...Thank you girl you did this for me didn't you, what a sweetheart! Yes it is beautiful, maby this Irish Pollock will have to save some money too. Tomorrow I will spend some time touring a castle. I love architecture, I always look to see if there's anything I can pull out and apply to a new style gazebo.

Kimba The White Lioness said...

SN5: You eloped to Costa Rica?! How cool is that?! That must've been beautiful!

Jolly: Did you really go ALL THE WAY to Ireland and not visit any castles?! I can't imagine! My girlfriend just visited the country last year and said the same thing about its people - very warm and inviting!

KAK: You don't REALLY think that I've lost my mind already, do ya?! Sheesh, you're such a pushover sometimes! I assure you, it's all still intact. Yup. Every ounce of my peanut-sized brain!


Sue said...

Wow, it looks beautiful. I hope you get there someday! :-)

Nyte said...

hey i finally get to comment blogger hates me i think lol anyways i also would love to go see some of those castles ive often had gone into the deeper parts of my mind and played the part of a palidan fighting dragons or being one of king arthurs knights its only fantasy but it would be cool to do it in one of those old castle kinda bring the fantasy to life ty kim for sharing this

KAK said...

Yep Kimba your a one ouncer, like that chipmonk we were discussing the other day..... O{:p)

Kimba The White Lioness said...

Sue, thanks! It does look beautiful, doesn't it? I hope I get there some day, too. Even if I can't afford to actually STAY within its walls, I'd settle for a day trip just to visit and explore!

Nyte, I know exactly what you mean! I think it's wonderful to dream about stuff like that. The process of growing up forces us all to face the harsh realities of the world in which we live, but I don't believe God ever intended for us to lose that innocence of our youth despite maturing! I'm glad blogger stopped hating you for a moment! Blogger always hates me when I try to comment on Moongoddesses blogs!)

From the Eyes of my Heart said...

Ireland is also a beautiful country. I think the landscape is similar to England's. I'd buy a castle in England myself if I become that rich =) and of course an english cottage with an english garden! I fancy watching period movies set in Europe. you get a view of the beautiful sceneries and houses. I love the clothes too. I wanna wear one of these gowns and feel like a princess =)