Adare – the little jewel in the Lady of Limerick’s Crown
Posted by Niamh Allabyrne on the 23rd of July 2013 at 11:48:13
This week our blog comes from Liz Aungier, Reservations Manager with tourireland.com. Liz was recently in Adare in County Limerick and has shared her experiences and thoughts on her recent stay in this beautifully quaint village. Adare is just twenty minutes from Limerick City, is known for its beautiful thatched cottages and is just teeming with history and heritage! Part one of Liz’s blog will focus in on the history of the village and her stay in the 5* Adare Manor. Part 2 will follow next week and will look at 2 more hotels – the Fitzgerald House Hotel and the Dunraven Arms.
“Oh Sweet Adare, oh lovely vale, oh soft retreat of sylvan splendour” Gerald Griffin 1803-1840
Long regarded as one of Ireland’s prettiest villages – Adare or Ath Dara (the ford of the oak) in Irish is situated on the River Meague, a tributary of The Shannon. Dating from the time of the Norman Conquest it’s been home to the Earls of Dunraven (Quinn Family) for over three centuries. Beautiful, unique thatched cottages line its broad street interspersed with ruins and buildings with local stonework.
Adare is an extremely historical town and was the site of many rebellions and although it is a small village there is plenty to do here! For starters there are four historical places to visit.
Desmond Castle, Adare
Desmond Castle dating from the 13th century is a fortified castle one of the few remaining examples of a Norman castle in Europe. Tours run here every day from the Adare Heritage center and the tour takes approx. one hour after which you get dropped back to the heritage center (on a side note The Heritage Center is great – everything you need here, information, shops, restrooms, café/restaurant and an interesting exhibition on Adare – thanks to Sandra at the desk for her help the day I was there!). The Castle tour is very interesting and well worth it. Kids will enjoy it too. There is a recreated door to the castle which has to be opened with a great big key and they love that. Inside you get to walk around and imagine yourself in the great hall at a banquet or in the kitchen cooking or even worse if you’ve done something bad – in the dungeon! Incidentally there was a banquet held in the grounds of the castle very recently to celebrate The Gathering!
Then there is The Augustinian Friary, The Trinitarian Abbey and the Franciscan Friary. There are many restaurants and cafes and gift shops. If you fancy a little shopping Adare is a little mecca of beautiful boutiques, only wish I’d had more time to go and have a look at them all!
For the ultimate in opulence – the 5* Adare Manor is the place to be! Legend has it that in the 1830’s the second Earl of Dunraven was riddled with gout and as a distraction from this took on the job of replacing the house.
The Dunravens intended that visitors would be spellbound by the building and would have to stop and look carefully at the building to see the significance of what they were looking at. The house was constructed in essence as a calendar house in that it has 365 stained windows, and 52 chimneys to signify the days and weeks of the year. During the construction many local workers (for whom the thatched cottages were built by their employer) found work in the Manor and thus were saved from the ravages of the famine that was occurring in that period. There is a huge Gothic influence inside with many gargoyles about! I think they succeeded, as the building takes your breath away once you get to the top of the long drive and lay eyes on it!
The Manor is vast in every way. The grounds are beautifully manicured with beautiful gardens including a walled garden. There is an 18 hole golf course set in wonderful scenery with tree lined fairways and challenging greens. For some pampering you must go to the beautiful Lavender Cottage and take some time out for a luxurious Darphin treatment.
In addition the Manor can arrange many more activities such as falconry, horse-riding and fishing to name but a few. If you like they will also prepare a picnic basket for you to bring with you as you explore the grounds. Newly added is their Fairy trail for the kiddies – something sure to keep them busy for a little bit as they follow the trail and try to find the fairies houses. There is easy access from the village to the Manor, the concierge will drop you down to the gate if you wish and then coming back you have a code to get into the grounds and then either walk back or call the front desk and they’ll pick you up! I stayed in a State room in the Manor which was a treat. The room was really big with dark luxurious wooden fixtures on the bed, dressing table and probably THE biggest bathroom that I have ever seen! I think it might be bigger than my apartments living area. After attending a Garden party at the Manor, a walk down the down and dinner in 1826 Adare, I had a great sleep. It was so blissfully quiet, a total change to my Dublin apartment!
For dinner in the Manor you have many options including the beautiful romantic Oak room (I recently had clients from the USA there and at dinner in the Oak room, and a wedding proposal was made!), the more informal bistro type Carriage Room and should you feel like a more private meal there is the option for in room dining too.
Breakfast in the Oak Room was a lavish affair too with a wide selection to choose from. I opted for the pancakes, an occasional treat I allow myself when staying in hotels.
All in all a true 5* experience in Adare Manor!
So if you fancy staying in Adare or maybe just visiting there, why not include it in your own Custom Made Tour, where you can pick where,when and how you would like to travel and we arrange it all for you taking all the hard work out of your hands with our expert staff!
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