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Long-Forgotten Tunnel Becomes Ashford Castle’s Wine Cellar

DUBLIN—As part of its $75 million restoration project, Ashford Castle has just unveiled a new wine cellar equipped for hosting wine tastings and private events.

During the process of the restoration, Red Carnation Hotels discovered an unused tunnel that was originally a limestone coal bunker and later an old servants’ entrance and walkway underneath the castle.

Red Carnation Hotels is the hotel’s parent company, which oversaw the renovation and reopening of the 82-room Ashford Castle as its new flagship property.

Ireland’s Ashford Castle’s wine cellars date back to 1615 when they were used to store the Guinness family wines, Madeira and port. Although functional, for many years, the cellars have reached its limit.

Now, Red Carnation Hotels has dramatically transformed the tunnel into three 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 wines by the glass.

The wine list has been carefully selected by Ashford Castle’s four sommeliers and includes a wide selection of vintages and a choice of New and Old World wines, including Red Carnation’s own boutique winery in South Africa, Bouchard Finlayson.