McKeon limestone provides natural beauty in a new fountain at Ashford Castle in Cong, County Mayo.
Ashford Castle is famous for its extensive gardens, which were first laid out by the Guinness family in the nineteenth century, and have since been developed to become amongst the finest in Ireland. In 1996, an ornamental pond was built in the Tollman Garden, which is overlooked by the castle’s terrace. It was decided more recently that a fountain would be added, with a pattern of six walkways by which the pond could be approached.
The New Fountain
Designed by architects Howley Hayes and artist Ciaran Byrne, the fountain consists of seventeen water jets. Ciaran Byrne – an artist, sculptor and letter cutter – to refine the design has worked with McKeon Stone limestone for many years.
Solid blocks of our limestone were used for the spouts, which are turned and carved to resemble waterlily buds. There are engravings of Irish flora and fauna, and fragments of a poem which can be read in its entirety by walking around the fountain.
A Ring of Seating
The new water feature is beautifully complemented by paving and a ring of bench seating, which, like the capping on the fountain, are made from our Kilkenny Blue limestone. As with other aspects of this carefully-planned project, the seats are intended to remind us of Irish landscape and history; the design reflects the ancient standing stones which can be found in many parts of Ireland. Because the seats are in a circle, there will always be somewhere to sit which is facing the sun.
A Luxurious Travel Destination
On the shores of Lough Corrib, Ashford Castle is a magnificent stone building dating back eight hundred years but now sympathetically restored as a five-star hotel, with attractions such as a spa and a falconry school. The bridge in the grounds even features in the movie ‘The Quiet Man’! The limestone fountain makes a fitting addition to the castle’s air of style, tradition and quality.