Things to See and Do in Adare
Adare in County Limerick is a small beautiful little village. Its is located around a 25 minutes drive from Limerick City and on route to Killarney in County Kerry.
The village and the local area has a large number of historic sites and interesting things to see and do. The village is home to many exciting things to see and do including Adare Manor, the Desmond Castle and the Augustinian priory. Adare is home to many old historic buildings.
The village has many visitors each year that arrive on tour buses and tourist’s driving around Ireland in rental car’s stop in Adare for a few hours or stay for a few days.
The population of the area is around 1200 people. The village is known as one of the prettiest villages in Ireland. Adare gets its name from the Irish Áth Dara meaning ford of oak or ford of the oak. The village has won a number of tidy towns awards for its well presented charming feel. The modern village was built by the Dunraven family in the early part of the nineteen century.
See my 24 things to do and see in Limerick article here! for some cool stuff to check out in Limerick.
There’s a lot to do including golf, shopping, cool Irish pubs and old buildings to keep you busy, I have listed a lot of stuff this article, all relevant information. There is a huge amount of activities in Adare Manor including falconry and horse and carriage rides. There is a cool Heritage centre on the main street of the village with loads to see.
Historic Buildings in Adare
Adare has a rich history dating back to the 1100s. The area has a number of very cool old historic buildings. The area is a great place to visit and especially if you are into history.
The area has a number of interesting buildings and very well kept old buildings and some are FREE to visit. The Fitzgerald families were very prominent in Adare for a long period of time and dominated Adare for almost four centuries.
The Franciscan Friary
The Franciscan friary building is on the grounds of Adare Manor golf club and shows evidence of early Christian settlements in the Adare area. There are remains of old church and tower.
The old buildings have an old gateway and some outbuildings. The buildings date back to 1464, Thomas Fitzgerald who was an Earl of Kildare ordered it to be built. The friars stayed in the area until around 1578, and they returned back again in 1633.
The Desmond castle sits on the banks of the River Maigue. The Desmond Castle is located just outside the village on the N21 roadway linking Limerick to Adare. The castle was built in the 13th century.
The castle was an important location and a stronghold. The Desmond Castle was belonged to the Earls of Kildare for almost 300 years and then taken over by the Earls of Desmond who’s ownership created the modern-day name “Desmond Castle”.
The castle is partially ruined but has had some refurbishment works done over the years. There are bus tours available from Adare village in the Heritage centre to the castle and grounds. Tickets can be booked in the Heritage centre. Tours are in English but can be requested in different languages.
Adare Heritage Centre Contact Details
Tours run daily from June 1st to September 30th each year.
Phone number for booking tours +353 (0) 61 396666
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Adults Ticket – €10.00
Students and Seniors Ticket – €8.00
Family ticket – €22.50 (2 Adults and 5 children under 18 years old)
Adare Manor is an old Manor house. The building dates back to 1832. The 2nd Earl of Dunraven and his wife Lady Caroline Wyndham used to live in a Georgian design house called Adare house. This house was built by Valentine Quin who was the grandfather of the first Earl of Dunraven. They decided to build Adare Manor and took 30 years to build and the house sits on 840-acre site.
The manor house was finally finished in the year 1862. The design of the building is fantastic and is known as a calendar house. This rare calendar house design gave Adare Manor 7 stone pillars, 4 towers, 365 windows and 52 chimneys to tally the months, days, weeks of season all year round. The design is based on other great houses and cathedrals located around Europe.
The house has many interesting features of the 19th-century Gothic revival in Ireland and in the UK. The building features some heraldry crests and wood cravings. The cravings show monsters and old mythical creatures and beasts.
The building of the Manor house provided local people with valuable work during one of Ireland’s darkest period, The Famine period also known as the potato famine which is also known as the potato famine during the 1800s.
The building of the house was a huge project at the time and involved many expert craftsmen. The lands and garden in Adare Manor are absolutely beautiful and a credit to the original designer and owners, they kept it in excellent condition down through the years.
There are many old beautiful mature trees on the 840-acre lands and wonderful gardens that are simply special. The river Maguire flows through the estate and is known as one of the best trout rivers in Ireland.
The estate has some old Ogham stones dating from the early 5th century. The Ogham language is an early type of the Irish language (Gaelic). The estate was the main seat of the Dunraven family until the 1980s.
A famous Hollywood movie was filmed in the Adare Manor staring Spike Milligan. The Last Remake of Beau Geste was filmed in Ireland in 1977 and the Manor house is seen in some of the famous movies.
Adare Manor has seen a member of the English royal family visited the estate, the Duke of York and Duchess of York visited in 1897. The Duke later became George V after the death of his father.
In 1987 Adare Manor was bought by an American Mr Thomas Kane and turned into a hotel and golf resort.
In January 2015 well known Irish businessman JP Mc Manus purchased Adare Manor Estate and golf club for a reported 30 million euros. There was a large construction project developed and a large extension and modernisation of the hotel and grounds were carried out.
This project has created one of the best hotels and grounds in the world. The hotel has had many high profile guests including Mark Walberg and Irish soccer player Robbie Keane. Golfers Rory Mc Elroy and Padraig Harrington have visited Adare Manor in recent times. The hotel won the bid to hold the Ryder cup in 2026, this has really put Adare on the golfing map.
Augustinian Abbey- Saint Nicholas Church (Church of Ireland)
This building is directing across from the entrance into Adare Manor hotel and golf club. The building dates back to 1316. The building is an amazing example of what a medieval church looked like.
Its is also known as the Black Abbey and today is named the Saint Nicholas church which is a protestant church and school, that is still in use to this very day. In the early 1900s, the building started to be used as a local protestant church.
The abbey was badly damaged by King Henry VIII forces. During the early 19th century the building was repaired and restored to its former glory. The church is located on the main road approaching into the village on the right-hand side. The church has some features from the 15th century that survived complete and the church has a wonderful charming cloister.
The building had works carried out by the Dunraven family down through the years. The church is another one of the amazing old historic building that Adare is known for.
The Lantern Lodge Adare
This super funky lantern lodge is located on the main road from Limerick to Adare, it is on the main roundabout approaching the village and next to Adare golf club, which is one of the two golf courses in Adare village. This old Victorian style Gothic lodge building was previously used for access into the Adare Manor estate.
The building has recently been fully restored and is in excellent condition. This two-story building was constructed in the year 1830 and is made of limestone. The building features gablets and has three elevations and fancy lancet windows.
The lantern lodge was used to house staff from the Dunraven Estate and the census of 1901 showed records that the gamekeeper of the Adare Manor estate at the time was Michael Quaid and he lived in the lodge with his family. This building is completely FREE to visit but be warned there is no parking and a lot of traffic passing by.
English Tudor Row House’s Adare
The Dunraven family brought the English style Tudor house designs to Adare. The Dunraven family paid for the design and the construction of the houses in 1911 along with the village hall. The Tudor design originated in England. The Tudor period in England was from 1485 to 1603. These houses show the history of English influence in the village of Adare through the house design and the village hall building design.
The Village Hall Adare
This Village Hall building is located on the top of the main street in Adare village. This building was designed by W Clifford Smith in the year 1909, the hall was built in 1911. The Earl of Dunraven hired the young architect because of the young man’s previous works in Limerick on the Shannon Rowing Club.
The English Tudor designed building is a wonderful example of the English influence on building design in Adare. The building features a two-storey design with front facade and a dormer style windows.
The well crafted cut limestone in the stonework and hopped roof are of Tudor design. There is a large hall room enclosed inside and the building is held in trust for the local community. The building is another example of the rich history of the Dunraven family on the landscape of Adare village.
Adare Court House
Adare courthouse is located on the main and right-hand side next to the Lenas pub and restaurant. The courthouse was built in the year 1863 and features a full limestone cut staircase. The building is constructed from limestone and has a beautiful grey colour. The chimneys are made of limestone and the building design has a clear standing in Adare’s architectural landscape.
The building was designed by Willam Fogerty and paid for by the Earl of Dunraven. The building was designed to house and occupy on the ground floor and to accommodate a caretaker. The design of the building is of high artistic quality. The external feature of the staircase is very notable this is the location where members of the public used to enter the courthouse.
The courthouse building was in use until 2009, and it was used as a District court as part of Ireland’s court services. The building was recently purchased by Charlie Chawke owner of Lena’s pub and restaurant. The building has had major construction work done and a new courthouse museum was opened onsite.
The new courthouse and museum section is on the first floor and a wonderful addition to the village. The ground floor of the building is linked to Lena’s bar and restaurant and is a beautiful Irish restaurant with some lovely Irish foods on offer. The courthouse museum is only available for private parties.
Terraced Irish Thatched Cottages
There a number of old thatched cottages on the main street in Adare and this is one of the classical features of old sweet Adare. The cottages give the area a cute and charming feel and are often one of the areas of the village where the most photographs are taken. The thatched roof has a charm like no other roof.
The cottages date back to the 1830s when the Dunraven’s requested that they be built for employees of the Dunraven estate. The employees lived in these cottages and they had quite a comfortable residence in these wonderful old buildings.
The charming cottages came with a small piece of land that could be used to rare a pig or grow some vegetables and fruit. The thatched roofs in Ireland are mainly thatched with wheat straws and the roofs need to be re-thatched every few years, this is dependent on the weather conditions and location of the building.
The downside of the roof is it needs regular maintenance and can be costly to re-thatch and is fairly flammable under the right conditions. The cottages today are turned into businesses, including cafes, restaurants and gift shops. They are a symbol of Adare village.
The Holy Trinity Abbey Church Adare
The Holy Trinity Abbey church is located on the main street in Adare village, just up from the heritage centre building. The church is FREE to visit and is opened Monday to Saturday from 10.00 am. The church opens from 9.30 am to 11.30 am on Sundays. The original foundation date of the Trinitarian order in Adare is unknown.
The building had major work done to it in the 19th century, and its in beautiful condition. It is believed that the original site dates back to 1226. The second Earl of Dunraven gave the church as a gift to the Catholic Parishioners in the year 1824, the building was in a ruined stated at the time.
A large restoration project was started to bring the building back to its former glory and this is a credit to the team of people that restored the building. The church has a wonderful feel and many lovely features that make it one of Adares nicest buildings. Ireland and England seen twenty foundations of the Trinitarians but this church is the only of its kind in Ireland.
The Holy Trinity Abbey features a fusion of 19th century Gothic design and medieval design that only very few holy buildings have. The stained glass and original stone pillars inside the church are a fantastic backdrop for photos. You have to pop in and see this church!!
There are two golf courses in Adare. One course is called the Adare golf club and is located on the left-hand side coming into the village, it dates back to the 1900s, this golf course is in excellent condition. The main entrance is located on the left-hand side driving into Adare, just before the Desmond Castle.
The course was originally a 9 hole course but in 1992, a new course was designed and built. The course won a national award in 2013 from the Golfers Guide to Ireland for “ Best Hidden Gem in Ireland”. The price for a round of golf is reasonable at 35.00 euros for an 18 hole round.
The second course in Adare is the course in Adare Manor. The original course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior and was regarded as one of the best parkland design golf courses in Ireland. This course was redesigned in 2018 by Tom Fazio and Fazio’s design associate Tom Marzolf.
This new course is something else, its an amazing golf course and the winning course of the Ryder Cup bid for 2027 which shows the calibre of the golf course. Its amazing golf course and I have been told its a very challenging course to play.
Take a Bus Tour
There are bus tours available from the Heritage Centre in the village. The tours take groups up to a 13th century Norman castle and it’s a fully guided tour. The tour runs from June to September each year. Tickets are priced for Adults at 10.00 euros and Seniors and Students are 8.00 euros. Family tickets are 22.50 and include 2 adults and up to 5 kids under 18 years of age.
Adare has some top-quality shops and boutiques. The village has a number of top-class clothes boutiques and fashion stores. The area has some wedding dress suppliers and great little Irish merchandise gift shops. The boutique Isobel is based on the main street and the wedding dress specialists Aibheil is located in the village.
The heritage centre has some good shopping options with heraldry services, a gift shop and nice Irish products on offer. There are two golf shops in the two golf clubs based in Adare.
If you want to go horse riding in Adare, you can pick from Clonshire Equestrian centre just outside the village or Clarina Equestrian Centre which is just a few minutes drive from Adare village. Clonshire has a stud farm and offers a number of services from horse riding for beginners to more advanced horse riding.
Clarina Equestrian Centre is approved by the A.I.R.E, the centre is located in a beautiful part of County Limerick will some great countryside. The facilities include an indoor arena of 20 metres x 40 metres and an outdoor sand area and cross county riding course.
Clonshire Equestrian centre is set on 120 acres of land just outside Adare. They provide horse riding lessons, training courses and they sell horses. They also run some pony camps for children.
Activities In Adare Manor
There are a number of things to do in the grounds of Adare Manor. Adare Manor offers a large number of activities, archery, fishing, whiskey tasting, clay pigeon shooting. There is a cool cinema on the grounds to enjoy and horse-drawn carriage rides available. The hotel offers historical tours and there is a boutique on the grounds of the hotel. It’s a great place to spend a few days.
Get Married In Adare
Adare is a busy location for weddings and they are a large number of weddings in the area each year. Adare Manor is a beautiful location for weddings and the Dunraven Hotel offers guest loads of options. The picturesque village offers so much for the wedding experience, and the Holy Trinity church is just a few minutes from the two hotels.
The Woodlands Hotel just outside the village offers great services for wedding parties. The Woodlands Hotel is another popular location for weddings. Adare has a number of local bus and coach companies. There are limousine and wedding car operators in the local area.
Camping and Caravan Parks
If you looking to stay in a campsite either with a tent, caravan or camper van, the area has two campsites close to the village. Adare Camping, Caravan and Motorhome Park is located just a few minutes drive outside the village, its the perfect spot to pull in for a night or two. The campsite has a number of facilities and dogs are permitted on-site. There is even a hot tub available on request!
Curraghchase caravan park is located around 20 minutes from the village. The caravan park caters for tents, and motorhomes and is located in a 774-acre forest park that is perfect for families and has some lovely walking trails to enjoy. The two sites are perfect places to stop off and enjoy the local area.
Do a Walking Tour
Doing a walking tour can be a great way to take in the surroundings and learn about the local areas, history and old tales. James Cavanagh of Adare Walking Tours can take you around and show you the sites and tell you some ancient tales about the local area. The tours can be booked in the Heritage Centre.
The Heritage Centre
The Heritage Centre is located in the centre of the village on the left-hand side if you driving into the village from the Limerick side. The centre has a wide range of services including plenty of parking at the rear of the centre.
There is a number of shops in the Heritage Centre and an information point and tourism information. There is a cafe in the Heritage Centre and some tasty ice cream on offer and family crest services from Curran’s Heraldry. All tours are booked through the tourist information desk, for some walking tours and bus operated castle tours to the Desmond castle. A really nice historical exhibition is FREE to visit and it shows the history of Adare and has some nice storyboards and imagery.
The village has plenty of great places to eat, the pubs located in the village, Auntie Lenas, Pat Collins has really good food. The hotels The Dunraven has plenty of nice dished to choose from and Adare Manors food is excellent. The Carriage House restaurant in Adare Manor was awarded a Michelin star, it is one of the best places for food locally. Bill Chawke’s Bar on the main street has a lovely menu to choose from.
The Woodlands Hotel is another great spot for food and Timmy Macs Bistro in the hotel offers a great range of foods on the menus. There are a number of great cafes and bistro’s and restaurants on the main street in the village including 1826, this restaurant is located on the main street, it is a thatched cottage restaurant.
The Good Room Cafe won an award in 2019 for “Cafe of the year in Munster”. The House Chinese restaurant offers a nice Chinese menu if its curry you fancy. The Mustard Seed is located around 25 minutes from Adare village and is well known for its food. The Mustard Seed won an award for “Best Front Of House Team in 2018.
Go for a stroll in Adare Village Park
The park is in the centre of the village, it is a great spot to chill out or maybe have a picnic. It’s the perfect area to relax with a book or just sit down take in the surrounding.
The village has some nice areas to walk around. This cute little park has a thatched featured area in the centre of the park, this is a nice place for some photos. The park is well maintained and full of beautiful plants, trees and shrubs. The park is used regularly for wedding photographs.
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