COUNTRY ESCAPE: County Mayo and Connemara
Rent a car and drive west to the traditional Irish village of Cong in County Mayo. The population hovers around 150 and the place feels like time stands still. While you’re here, get your fill of adventure activities by visiting the nearby wild landscape of Connemara, with its dolphin-filled fjords and jagged cliffs.
Sleep like a man at…Ashford Castle
The lush green grounds of Ashford Castle borders Lough Corrib (Ireland’s second largest lake). The castle features 83 guest rooms, and Pierce Brosnan got married here. Built in 1228, it was the country estate of the Guinness family until it was converted into a hotel in 1939. Listen to classical Irish ballads in the Dungeon Bar and go easy on your room’s complimentary brandy.
Eat like a man at…The George V Dining Room
Dinner inside the castle at the George V is a classy affair with jackets required for men, but they serve enough meat to satisfy even the most hungry carnivore. The delicious modern Irish and international dishes are locally sourced, using oysters from Galway Bay and lamb from farms in County Mayo. To get a taste of local pub life and hearty meal, walk five minutes into town to visit the Crowe’s Nest for fish and chips, or simply to enjoy a pint of Guinness while listening to live music.
Sightsee like a man… You could make use of the complimentary 9-hole golf course on the castle grounds, but you might want to spend your time trying traditional country sports such as falconry (think: hunting animals with birds instead of guns or arrows). Ashford is actually home to Ireland’s first school of falconry, and you’ll get an adrenaline rush by signing up to carry these powerful birds of prey on your arms and venture into the woods for a simulated hunt. If you want to fit in some fitness in the great outdoors, head to the nearby Killary Adventure Company to canoe, sea kayak, sail, rock climb, gorge hike, windsurf, and more.