We were here 2 years ago(see my other review). Kids(8 & 11) demanded we come back- no argument there! The place is super and romantic as ever, and the owners make it easy and affordable to rent. I have searched all over Europe via the web and nothing compares to this place. Where else can one rent a castle for one's family and not break the bank and at such an incredibly mystical location on Lough Corrib in beautiful Western Ireland? It's not fancy inside(rent a room at Ashford) but comfy and atmospheric; plus, the people here are absolutely wonderful.
OK, what's new to recommend- drive Connemara, wife bought wool in Leenane at woolshop for knitting; Joyce's Sheepdogs are amazing; Lunch at Clifden, nice bakery shop;take a boat ride on Corrib- get a boatman or take the ride next to Ashford Castle. Our girls took horseback riding lessons there- great crew and beautiful surroundings; at Cong eat at the pub and take the nice footpath from there to Clonbur; lots of time in Galway-walk the streets and shops, go to Irish Show, best gelato anywhere at Gino's; check the weather(you can also check on the web the maritime report for sea roughness), if a nice day, call the ferry office in Galway and go to the Aran Islands! We rode on a 'pony and trap' around the big island and visited the ruins- what a blast! You must do it!
Make sure to have the wonderful caterer down the road prepare a meal. She and her husband are great! So is the housekeeper if you need anything. Best of all, we just love hanging aroung the castle, build a peat fire, explore the woods, go to town(Headford),shop in the newly expanded Joyces supermarket, visit the nearby friary ruins(kids love to explore that one), feel like a local and then come back to that welcoming, white castle. Indeed, a man's castle is his castle! And we're thankful to have the chance to experience that. You need to do this. (We'll be back.)
Suggestion: you do put a deposit down for fuel, electric and for potential damages. But it amazes me, for such a big place, it doesn't cost that much. We turn off the heat when we leave for the day and at night; pull drapes across all the great windows and window seats which we and the kids love to seclude ourselves in and stare out from, and we're all quite comfortable.