PROT EC T I O N O F C ULTUR A L HER ITAGE: H E RITAGE PRE SE RVATION
AS H FOR D CAS TLE IRELAND
Sense of Place: Historic Restoration Originally built in 1228, Ashford Castle has witnessed—and played a part—in much of Ireland’s history. Residents of the nearby village of Cong had worked at the castle for generations until the mid-20th century, when the property spiraled into decay as it traded ownership among different investors. Enter the Tollman family, owners of Red Carnation Hotels, who bought the castle in 2013 with the intent of restoring its grandeur and its ties with the community. They invested $75 million dollars to meticulously refurbish the historic buildings, using local craftsmen and all the scaffolding available in Ireland. As they worked to bring back a sense of place to the property, they also reaffirmed a close relationship with the villagers of Cong, who consider the castle part of their heritage and who, once again, make up the majority of employees. The castle is home to Ireland’s first school of falconry, showcases period furnishings from Irish history, and supports local arts—a model of cultural heritage preservation.
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