Ashley Morrison's Blog

November 28, 2016

Black Friday sale.

As we approach the end of another year, it was time to take advantage of the 50% off ‘Black Friday’ sale over the weekend smile.

So some new books have been printed…
A book called Irish Hotels by Ashley Morrison.
.. which even includes the work we did at Straffan House last week…
The dining room in Straffan House at The K Club near Straffan in County Kildare.
.. which I plan to write about later on this week – so watch this space, as that was a totally amazing shoot smile.

Anyway, Irish Hotels is a large format coffee table book containing a collection of hotel images created by me and my team over the past few years in Ireland – which I’m thinking should make for a very nice Christmas present, as well as hopefully help kick start the new year wink.

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September 2, 2014

How it looks today.

At the end of each month, my computer’s dairy reminds me of which licenses are about to expire.

So this month, for example, three are about to expire – and so the reminder emails were sent out yesterday to let them all know ahead of time.

Just a quick note to let you know Licence No. 20120913-00016726 expires on the 30th September 2014.

Description:-
5 images of various rooms and areas at Ashford Castle in Cong.
DVD Reference: 20100712 Ashford
For exclusive use, for Ashford Castle to use these images for:-
Media use: Worldwide web & promotional emails only.
Period of use: 2 years (ends 30th September 2014).
Territory of use: Internet only.
(BUR £200.00 per image).

So if you would like to extend the license period, on one or more of these images, please let us know by the end of the month.

And in this case their reply was:

Dear Ashley
Many thanks but we will NOT be renewing the Licence , as Ashford has been completely Restored in the past year , since Ashford was bought by Red Carnation hotels.
Trust all is well with you and Maire and hope to see you both again soon.
Very best regards

So I decided to have a wee look to see how the castle now looks, as we had talked to Suzie from the Red Carnation Hotels last year about all of this, during this shoot…
The Doorman at Ashford Castle in County Mayo talking to a guest on the bridge.

.. which we talked about here: Welcome to Ashford Castle.

And yes there has indeed been a lot of changes – so I’m not surprised that they no longer need to use our images anymore.

Anyway, many of the new images they now show on their website are of rooms and areas of the hotel we never shot; however, I did notice a few have been re-captured by a London photographer – who says he aims to create natural feeling imagery that brings out the best in people, places and all things in general”.

So was obviously very interested to see how those rooms now looked – both in terms of decor and naturally how they had been photographed too – as I remember this being a tough one to shoot back in 2010, which I talked about here: Ashford Castle in County Mayo.

So here are two of them: “Space to relax and entertain in the lovingly restored Presidential Suite”  – as it looks today…

(The newly restored Presidential Suite at Ashford Castle)

.. as opposed to how it looked back in 2010…
Presidential Suite in Ashford Castle which is located near to the village of Cong in County Mayo.

.. and  “Enjoy fine dining in the George V dining room, lovingly restored”  – as it looks today…

(The newly restored George V dining room at Ashford Castle)

.. as opposed to how it looked back in 2010…
The George V dining room at Ashford Castle in County Mayo.
.. when we produced this image of it.

Love what they have done here in terms of decor – but not so sure about those images – so may just reply:

No problems and thanks for letting us know.
 
Trust all is well with everyone at Ashford Castle – and yes, no doubt we will be seeing you’ll again real soon, to produce some new images that you will want to use. 

Since that is what I feel they really now need here – to help them market & advertise this magnificent old castle throughout the world- which currently looks to have been beautifully restored.

Or is that just wishful thinking on my part?

Anyway, one down and two to go, so we will see how it goes – but I sure would like to make that place sing for them, as it is, without doubt, one of Ireland’s most magnificent hotels wink

 
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October 17, 2013

No.1 in Europe…

Filed under: Web links — Ashley Morrison @ 2:48 pm
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.. and 4 in the top 15.

Yes the results are in from the latest Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards – and so we would would like to say a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to 4 of the hotels in the Top 20 Resorts in Europe:

Top 20
.. whom we have had the great pleasure to worked with over the past few years – providing images for them to use to show the world what they have to offer.

The Lodge at Doonbeg
Doonbeg-133398
.. who we last talked about shooting for here: Nothing between here and America & here in September of last year.

Dromoland Castle
Dromoland-163303
.. who we last talked about shooting for here: Capturing the atmosphere and also when they won the 2012 Fodor’s top 100 hotels in the world Royal pedigree award.

Ashford Castle
Ashford-144137
.. who we last talked about shooting for here: Welcome to Ashford Castle as well as back in July 2010 when we first meet.

.. and Mount Juliet
Juliet-173014
.. who we talked about shooting for in May of this year as well as back in November 2012.

Plus an even bigger CONGRATULATIONS to Ray and everyone at the Lodge at Doonbeg for not only being ranked number one here in Europe, but for also being ranked number 20 the Top 100 Hotels & Resorts in the World:
Top 100

“What appears to be an aristocrat’s stately nineteenth-century seaside manor was in fact built in 2006 by the developers of South Carolina’s Kiawah Island and designed entirely by Americans. But what is very real about Doonbeg (and all that really matters) is its stunning setting on a remote whitecapped bay in west County Clare, the perfection of its every detail, and staff who are easily among the most welcoming in Ireland. Accommodations are in one- to four-bedroom suites with high ceilings, gas fireplaces, kitchens, and sumptuous beds. The centerpiece of the resort is the Greg Norman–designed course mowed through the rolling marram grass dunes.”

Which as you can see from their most recent ad…
Number-one
.. they are extremely proud of too – and rightly so, as that is an absolutely astounding result.

So a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to each of you once again – a fantastic result indeed – and thank-you too for choose us at ampimage to capture you’re places – which we’d obviously like to think, (greatly) helped add to your success here smile

From Marie, me and the rest of the team @ ampimage.com.

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July 7, 2013

Welcome to Ashford Castle.

Filed under: Photography,Work Rest & Play. — Ashley Morrison @ 3:27 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Which was basically our brief this week – as we had been asked to produce 3 images for the new owners of Ashford Castle, the Red Carnation Hotels, to use in their brochures and on their website.

So we headed down the day before, hoping & praying that the rain would stop – as two models had been booked and Suzie, from the Red Carnation Hotels, had flown in from London to oversee us in action.

Anyway, we had a Plan B (as well as a Plan C & D, which we discussed with Suzie the night before, as we joined her for something to eat in the magnificent George V dining room) – should the weather not improve – as each of the images she required, would ideally be a member of staff with guests outside, with the Castle behind them.

Thankfully though, Plan C & D wasn’t needed – because as I woke the next morning it looked like we would be in luck, as the sun was shining Smile

However, this is Ireland where it rains 250 days a year, and so you just know that the next rain clouds won’t be far away.

Anyway, it was all systems go the following morning – so we headed down early to find the ideal spot for the first image – as the brief was to produce:

“.. a falconry shot – introducing guests to the birds in front of the castle.”

Anne Marie from Brendan Vacations, Suzie from the Red Carnation Hotels and Catherine from Ashford Castle were first to arrive…
Arriving at the shoot.
.. so while we waited for the others, we looked around to find the best angle of the Castle that would work for the first image.

And just as we found it the models, Catherin Higgins & John McCormack, arrived – as the sun came out – and so as you can see in the zoom in…
Fingers crossed.
.. Suzie had her fingers crossed here wink

Anyway, while we waited for the birds to arrive and the models to get changed, Stuart (my assistant), Anne Marie & Suzie …
Testing lights.
.. stood in while I did some test shots – as I still wasn’t ruling out Plan B.

Anyway, the birds arrive on schedule – two beautiful Harris Hawks…
Birds arrive.
… from Ireland’s School of Falconry, which is located on grounds of Ashford Castle – however, with no sun in site, it was time to resort to Plan B – which was to shoot the foreground first…
Looking good.
.. check the files to see if we had a least got that part right…
Checking the results.
.. and then wait and wait and wait…
The sun comes out.
.. for the sun to come out, which it finally did.

And the result…
Guests with Harris hawks at Ashford Castle in County Mayo.
.. was an image which I think they will be very pleased with, as I feel it looks very natural – due to the expressions on all their faces.

Will this be the cover shot?
Well I guess we will just have to wait and see – but those hawks are really something special – a USP for sure – so I reckon this could very well be the one.

Anyway, now that sun was out, it was time to move on to create the 2nd image…
Behind the scenes.
.. of the Bag Piper…
Bagpipe player at Ashford Castle in County Mayo.
.. who it seems, would often welcome guest as they arrive at the front of the Castle.
Another USP – and one thing for sure, while he played here, the guests all flocked out to see what was going on – so I wasn’t the only one taking pictures of him in action here Smile

Okay, so with 2 in the bag, that just left one to go:

“.. an arrival shot – staff extending a warm welcome to guests at the entrance of the castle.”

Sounds easy – but without some beautiful light…
Testing.
.. it wasn’t looking so good.
So we just had to wait and wait and wait – for that one minute window of sunshine, before capturing what was felt to be the best image of the day:
The Doorman at Ashford Castle in County Mayo talking to a guest on the bridge.

Welcome to Ashford Castlejust for you – in association with Brendan Vacations and the Red Carnation Hotels cool

So I’d just like to say many thanks to everyone involved – and especially to the staff at Ashford Castle for making us feel so welcome once again.

Oh – and special thanks to the ‘Big Guy’ up above, for answering my prayers, as I really don’t think Stuart & I could have pulled this off without you Smile

Cheers
Ashley.
www.ampimage.com

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September 22, 2010

Ashford & Dromoland Castle.

Filed under: Web links — Ashley Morrison @ 1:34 pm
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Images produced at two of Ireland’s most luxurious 5 Star Hotels – Ashford Castle & Dromoland Castle – now on YouTube..

Ashford Castle

Dating back to 1228 and once the estate of the Guinness family, the luxurious 5 Star Ashford Castle first open as a hotel in 1939.

• Voted Top 10 Resort Properties in Europe by Travel & Leisure 2010.
• Number 1 Resort hotel in Ireland voted by Conde Nast Travelle Readers Choice Awards 2008 & 2009.
• Number 2 Resort hotel in Europe voted by Conde Nast Traveller Readers Choice Awards 2008 & 2009.
• Number 1 European Castle Hotel – voted by Trip Advisor – April 2007.

Dromoland Castle

With an extraordinary history stretching back to the 5th Century, the Dromoland Castle 5 Star Hotel in Ireland was originally the ancestral home of one of the few families of Gaelic Royalty; direct descendants of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland.

• Georgina Campbell’s, 2009 Hotel of the Year
• Environmental Award; Green Failte Gold Award Winner 2009
• Environmental Award; Green Failte Silver Award Winner 2008
• Conde Nast Traveler, Gold List 2006, 2007 & 2008
• Travel & Leisure Magazine – 2008 Top 50 European Hotels
• Dromoland Castle is a proud member of Virtuoso, Signature & Fine Hotels & Resorts.

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July 14, 2010

Ashford Castle in County Mayo.

Filed under: Photography,Web links — Ashley Morrison @ 11:29 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

In 1228 – Ashford was founded by the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family following their defeat of the native O’Connors of Connaught.
In 1589 – after more than three and a half centuries under the de Burgo’s, Ashford passes into the hands of a new owner – the English Lord Bingham, governor of Connaught – who adds a fortified enclave within its precincts.
In 1715 – the Ashford estate was established by the Oranmore and Browne family and a fabulous French-style chateau was added to the architectural splendor of the castle.
In 1852 – Ashford’s new owner, Sir Benjamin lee Guinness, extends the estate to 26,000 acres, building new roads, planting thousands of trees and adding two large victorian style extensions.
In 1868 – Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness bequeaths Ashford to his son, Lord Ardilaun, an avid gardener who oversees the development of massive woodlands and rebuilds the entire west wing of the castle.
In 1915 – Ashford is retained by the Iveagh trust on behalf of the Guinness family.
In 1939 – Ashford was bought by Noel Huggard who established the castle as a “First Class Hotel”.
In 1951 – The director John Ford comes to the west of Ireland to film what would become a movie classic “The Quiet Man” – starring John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Victor McLaglen and Barry Fitzgerald.
In 1970 – Ashford Castle is bought by John A. Mulcahy who oversees its complete restoration and expansion, doubling its size, building the golf course and developing the grounds and gardens.
In 1985 – A group of Irish American investors purchase Ashford. In the 16 years since, Ashford has been voted not only one of the best hotels in Ireland by the most discerning guidebooks, but also one of the top 50 resort properties in Europe.
In 2008 – Ashford Castle was bought outright by Galway Entrepreneur and Hotelier Mr Gerry Barrett.

And last week – Marie, Stuart & myself were honoured to be invited down to Ashford Castle

.. by Paula & Niall, to photograph part of this luxurious 5 Star hotel.

The amazing Oak Hall lobby area was a challenge to light …
One of the first pictures taken of the Oak Hall at Ashford Castle.
.. as the Castle was busy too; however, we were very pleased with this final result:
The Oak Hall in Ashford Castle which is located near to the village of Cong in County Mayo.

The George V dining room also took a while to set-up…
setting up the dining room shot
.. and light too..
setting up the dining room shot
.. but what an amazing room:
The George V dining room at Ashford Castle in County Mayo.

So we were slow on this one…
setting up one of the bedrooms
.. but then again…
Room 422 in Ashford Castle which is located near to the village of Cong in County Mayo.
.. this is one of Ireland’s most prestige Hotels we were being asked to capture…
Ashford-143880b
.. so we wanted it to look just right
The Presidential Suite in Ashford Castle which is located near to the village of Cong in County Mayo.
.. by producing a set of images that would complete the dream – of what 5 Star living is all about.

So thanks again to everyone for making this happen – and hopefully, we will be back soon, to produce more images for them to use.

From Marie, Stuart & me.
www.ampimage.com

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April 28, 2010

Preparation.

Filed under: Photography — Ashley Morrison @ 9:19 pm
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A big part of our time these days is spent preparing for the next shoot i.e. reccing the places, producing concept reports, working out shooting schedules, organizing props, models, etc.

So this week has been all about preparation and we are just back from reccing Ashford Castle in Cong.

What an amazing place..
Ashford Castle.

Ashford Castle.

So really looking forward to the actual shoot in May and working with Paula here…
Ashford Castle.

Meanwhile, Marie is knee deep in cushions, bedspreads, lamps and rugs etc – that she has been gathering up in advance of us shooting a new range of bedroom & kitchens, for our old and valued client OS Doors.

Variety sure is the spice of life !!

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