Coming from a hotel background, I know that there are some fabulous wedding venues in hotels around the country and this is still a hugely popular option for couples.
Since joining numerous wedding chat groups in the last few months I have noticed that more and more couples are looking for somewhere a bit different than what most hotel venues have to offer. Couples want to have a more relaxed feel to the day than the traditional sit down, 5 course meal etc..
I recently got an enquiry for wedding planning services from a bride who was looking for someone to coordinate on the day. She had chosen a venue just a 15 minute drive from where I live that was different!
I decided it was time I got in the car and started looking for these different venues. This brought me to the stunning Ross Castle. Located on the main Galway to Clifden Road in Rosscahill, it is about 20 minutes from Galway city centre. Close enough if you need any last minute wedding bits and bobs but far away to be remote.
Stunning might be an understatement, this place is just fab. I emailed Marshall McLaughlin (proprietor) to see if I could call out for a look around to see for myself. She gave me so much of her time and really showed me everywhere.
This place is steeped in history. The castle was built in 1539 by the “Ferocious” O’Flahertys, one of the tribes of Galway, and bought by the McLaughlin family in the 1980s. Marshall told me that it has been a labour of love and you can see why.
When they bought the estate, it was in huge disrepair and they have invested heavily in this magnificent property to bring it to where it is today.
So, why would you choose Ross Castle for your wedding?
As you turn off the main Clifden road (N59) and head up the winding country roads you think you have taken a wrong turn until you see the sign for the castle… go through the gates and just up ahead of you WOW! Lush grounds overlooking Lough Corrib. It really is stunning. I cannot believe that I had never been there before.
If I were a wedding photographer I would be in heaven with all the different parts of this vast estate that can be used for photographs. There are the grounds themselves but there is also what I felt was a maze of all these hidden little spots in the garden. As we walked through them, I told Marshall I would need a map if I was on my own!!
The courtyard has a nearly majestic tree which is not only another great photo shot but this is where the self catering accommodation is. Three fabulous cottages with sleeping for up to 35 people. All of the bedrooms are en suite and have all the modcons required for a stay here.
Then, just when I thought I couldn’t say “this is just fabulous” anymore, Marshall brought me into the chapel. All I will say is, stunning.
If you needed more than walking the grounds, the estate also has an indoor swimming pool, billiard room and a tennis court.
There are a few options for weddings at Ross Castle. The Castle itself can cater for smaller intimate weddings for up to 65 guests in the vaults and a marquee can be set up in the courtyard area.
As I drove away, I realised that I am so lucky to live in the West of Ireland. There are so many different wedding venues on offer to couples and I will be going to see more of them.
I also realised that my trusty Samsung phone is not up to the par when it comes to posting photographs for my blogs. I did take some photos on my visit which I have posted on my instagram @cathymeliaweddings and if my webmaster (Mike:)) thinks they are good enough for my website, www.cathymeliaweddings.com, they will go there too.