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Ireland's popular Ashford Castle to reopen with lavish upgrades

Ashford Castle has undergone a yearlong renovation of its 82 rooms. It's set to reopen at the end of March.

The medieval Ashford Castle is getting ready to unveil a new era for the popular castle-turned-hotel in western Ireland.

The hotel will roll out the finishing touches of a yearlong renovation on March 27. Upgrades bring a new cigar room, cinema, spa and pool, and distinctive decor to each room.

The castle, built in 1228, closed Jan. 6 to finish the most recent work in updating 68 rooms and 14 staterooms, public areas and the grounds, according to a hotel statement. It's the final step in the restoration by Red Carnation Hotels.

Renovations include:

-- A 32-seat cinema

-- A new library in the vaulted area near the castle's entrance

-- A new spa and pool

-- Air-conditioning and Wi-Fi throughout

-- Upgrades in landscaping at the tennis courts, the on-site School of Falconry and nine-hole golf course

And then there are the rooms and suites.

Red Carnation founder Beatrice Tollman headed the design team tasked with choosing fabrics and accents. Each features individual furnishings, wallpaper, antiques, original artwork and other design touches.

Red Carnation bought the castle in 2013. No price tag has been revealed for the most recent renovation.

Room prices vary seasonally and range from $244 to $537 a night, including breakfast and taxes.

Info: Ashford Castle, Cong, County Mayo, Ireland

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