Ashford Castle Unveils Regal Anniversary Plans

With the wink of an eye and a nod to history, Ashford Castle, in the heart of Ireland’s County Mayo, has announced the formula for a joint anniversary celebration with Guinness, Ireland’s beloved 250-year-old Stout beer. The following steps are guaranteed to yield a month of fun, including a once-in-a-lifetime Black & White birthday dinner with Guinness on October 15, as only the Irish can stir up:

-Start with Ireland’s most iconic hotel, Ashford Castle, once the country estate of the Guinness family. The Castle dates back to 1228 and is now marking its 70th year as a grand hotel. No substitutions for Ashford Castle are possible.

-Combine with Guinness, the Emerald Isle’s favorite brew, celebrating its 250th birthday throughout 2009 and a key ingredient for making the festivities flow.

-Designate the month of October “Guinness Month” at Ashford Castle and roll out a new cocktail called “Arthur’s Bellini,” made with plenty of Guinness and perfect for sipping and toasting throughout the month. Arthur’s Bellini was named for Arthur Guinness, who signed the 9,000-year lease on Dublin’s St. James’s Gate brewery in 1759 and whose legacy gave us Guinness beer.

-Inspire Chef Stefan Matz to create a five-course “Black & White” birthday dinner to be served in the Castle’s Connaught Room on the evening of Thursday, October 15. Festive attire (black and white, perhaps?) is the order of the night.

-Connaught Room Invite the Head Brewer of Guinness to the Black & White dinner where he’ll talk about the art and craft of making the world-famous brew and reveal his stories and experiences as the global ambassador (some say probably the best job in the world). He’ll also chat about the history of Guinness and point out links to Ashford Castle that span two centuries.

-Note that 40 lucky guests who zero in on October 15 can book the once-in-a-lifetime Black & White Dinner with special Guinness festivities in the elegant Connaught Room for &euro195 (approximately US$278) per person per night.

-Mix it all together for a month-long toast to two Irish stars.