To be honest, we followed the signs from the road, as a detour on our trip between Aughnanure Castle and Kylemore Abbey. It wasn't on the national historic sites map, but we thought we might luck into another grand old castle or ruins. We came upon a sign indicating that Ross Castle was open until Sept. 30. It was mid October, but there was a yellow sign pronouncing the castle open and a charge of 6 Euros for the castle and gardens, or 4 Euros for the castle alone. We drove up to the castle.
What we saw was more of a large estate type house. A grand old house it did appear, but with no real stunning archictectural features. We felt a bit mislead by them calling what appeared to be a grand old english style estate a "castle" and started to turn around. We were then approached by a lady out of the house, on a rainy day, who informed us it was a private residence. We told her there was a sign saying it was open, and she then informed us that "well, you did see it's 6 Euros didn't you." We had already planned just to turn around, as it was 2pm and we were not sure how much longer it would take us to get to Kylemore, and we were also unsure what time Kylemore closed.
No offense, but we aren't cheap (we spent well over 2000 Euros on just playing, touring and eating in Ireland over 2 weeks), and I likely would have paid the 12 Euros for both of us, HAD WE HAD TIME, just to see the gardens really, since I am a botanist as well, but I really just thought this lady was quite rude.
Honestly, when she came out, I was playing with the idea in my head of paying just to see the gardens, but she cemented my decision not to do so.
If you hold yourself out as a tourist attraction, "private" or not, and have signs enticing people off the main road, you should be a little more considerate to people in your dealings with them... I mean why even come out to harass two lone tourists in the parking lot who haven't even gotten out of their car, and have merely snapped 3 pictures of your "house," in the rain.
I'm not saying it's not visiting, but just be aware that should you drive onto this ladys parking lot, she might attack your car for her 6 Euros... Maybe her heating bill has gotten a bit too high, who knows. :)
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