Long-Forgotten Tunnel Ashford Castle’s New Wine Cellar


As part of its US$75-million restoration project, Ireland’s Ashford Castle has unveiled a new wine cellar equipped for hosting wine tastings and private events.

During the process of the restoration, Red Carnation Hotels (the hotel’s parent company, which oversaw the renovation and reopening of Ashford Castle as its new flagship property) discovered an unused tunnel that was originally a limestone coal bunker and later an old servants’ entrance and walkway underneath the castle.
Ashford Castle has long been recognized for its outstanding wine list, with its original wine cellars dating back to 1615 when they were used to store the Guinness family wines, Madeira and port.

Although functional, for many years, the cellars have been bulging at the seams. The unearthed tunnel was the perfect solution for a new wine cellar.

Red Carnation has dramatically transformed the tunnel into three unique private spaces, complete with tasting rooms, temperature-controlled storage for red, white and sparkling wine, a bespoke guest entrance lobby and the latest wine tasting system, Coravin, which enables guests to taste great wines by the glass.

The cellar is open every afternoon, with a sommelier on duty to assist guests with the selection of their wine for dinner at any of the dining venues on the estate. A Winemaker Dinner Series will also be held in the new cellars, as well as an option for private dining.