Ashford's five-star memorabilia goes under hammer
A Donegal man has spent up to €7,000 on over 25 pieces at an auction at the world-famous Ashford Castle Hotel.
Anrai O Domhnaill (50) wanted to buy authentic, Irish pieces of furniture for his new house that he will soon move into.
But the general manager of the hotel, Niall Rochford, said the former guest is just one of many who want to take a slice of the luxurious castle home with them.
More than 3,000 people have passed through the auction in Cong, Co Mayo.
Mr Rochford said "the number of people that have shown up indicates how much everyone would like to take a piece of Ashford away with them".
One of the purchasers, Mr O Domhnaill, told how he had stayed with his wife Sinead in the five-star hotel on several occasions, so they jumped at the chance to buy the "historic" furniture.
"We love and live a very traditional, Irish life and we were happy that everything was made by hand in Ireland.
"We also wanted to keep it at home," said Mr O Domhnaill.
Despite spending thousands, the father-of-five explained that "I came here to save money, not to spend money believe it or not".
He added: "Once you buy pieces of high quality like these, their value increases and some modern shops will sell you a copy of these for more."
Meanwhile, a bed that was manufactured for the former US president Ronald Reagan was also sold at the auction.
Mr Reagan spent three days there in June 1984. He was in Ireland to visit the village of Ballyporeen in Co Tipperary, where his great-grandfather had emigrated from.
The huge bed was just one of 1,084 lots that were auctioned at two warehouses in the west of the country.
By 9pm yesterday nearly 912 lots had been sold.
Rory Murphy worked as the general manager of the castle for 29 years. He retired in 2002, but he was interested to know what happened to the pieces of the hotel that he considered "memorabilia".
Ashford Castle Hotel has been through a huge transformation since it was taken over by the South African hotel group Red Carnation Hotels last year.
The 365-acre estate was re-opened in March of this year and Mr Murphy said that the refurbishments made were "absolutely fabulous".