A romantic Irish castle became the scenic venue for golfer Rory McIlroy and Erica Stoll's wedding over the weekend. The centuries-old Ashford Castle was once home to the Guinness family and hosted a string of celebrities over the years.
Ashford Castle lies along Ireland's touristy Wild Atlantic Ways and spans 350 acres wide on the shores of Lough Corrib, according to Lonely Planet. The 13th-century Irish castle has been passed down from its original owners, the Anglo-Norman de Burgos family, to the Bingham, Browne and Guinness families. Ashford Castle was only transformed into a hotel when it was sold in 1939. Rory McIlroy and his new wife reportedly spent almost €5,000 ($5,363) per night when they booked the Reagan Presidential Suite.
Rory McIlroy wanted his wedding to be private that Ashford Castle went on "lockdown" from Friday morning, according to Irish Independent. The newlywed exchanged vows in the estate's St. Mary's Church on Saturday witnessed by more than 200 guests. Celebrity guests who attended the fairytale-like wedding in the Irish castle included One Direction's Niall Horan, billionaire JP McManus, hotelier John Fitzpatrick and golfers Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry. Stevie Wonder also graced the event.
Rory McIlroy's wedding is believed to have set him back about €500,000. It's not the first time the medieval Irish castle held lavish events and hosted famous personalities. Ashford Castle boasts an elite list of guests over the years such as entertainers The Beatles, Brad Pitt, Pierce Brosnan, playwright Oscar Wilde, former US President Ronald Reagan and royalties King George V and Queen Mary, Prince Rainier III of Monaco, Princess Grace and Prince Edward.
The Irish castle also featured in John Ford's 1959 film "The Quiet Man" starred by John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. Red Carnation Hotels purchased Ashford Castle in 2013 and updated it with a three-seater cinema room, billiards room, a cigar terrace, wine-tasting tunnels and a spa. The old castle holds 83 rooms and suites and still showcases artworks and antiques.