Gorgeous houses and hidden gems
The very definition of postcard perfection, Adare is a picturesque oasis of authentic thatched cottages and friendly faces. The Dunraven family, who planned and built the beautifully-lined streets and neighbouring townhouses in the early nineteenth century, had a far easier time of things, compared to those who came before them. As a ford on the River Maigue, Adare was a natural focal point for regional power brokers from the 1200s onward. Battles were fought, buildings were burnt, wars were won and many people perished.
Thankfully, things are far less dramatic and far more prosperous today. Antiques shops, galleries, restaurants and of course the odd pub or two, sit side by side to the historic ruins that act as a gentle reminder of a of a time, thankfully, long gone.
Make sure to make time for a visit to this magical village, enjoy a pint, taste the food and see why ‘a hundred-thousand welcomes’ is actually an understatement.
Adare Village Heritage Centre
For a closer look at exactly what happened over the centuries, the Heritage Centre on Main Street is a must for all peaceful visitors. Their excellent exhibition and audio-visual show transport you back to share the excitement and colour of the town's rich and varied history. Open daily from 9:30am to 4:30pm, it also features a tourist information office, restaurant, woollen mills outlet and craft shop.
The Desmond Castle (Open June to September)
One of Ireland’s most interesting examples of feudal architecture is comprised of a square keep, curtain walls, two great halls, a kitchen, bakery and even a stable, all located nearby a main gateway. Desmond Castle is a uniquely Irish experience and one you must see before you head back home.
Founded in 1464 by Thomas, Earl of Kildare, and his wife for Franciscan Friars of the Strick Observance, it was attacked and burned in 1646 by parliamentary forces. Today, the ruin, which is located in the heart of Adare Manor, is beautifully preserved with numerous gables.
Founded by the Fitzgerald's around the year 1230 for the Trinitarian Canons of the Order of the Redemption of Captives, this was the only house of the Order in Ireland.
It was suppressed in 1535 and gradually fell into ruin in 1811. Part of the building, consisting of the tower, nave and choir, was restored by the First Earl of Dunraven and given to the Catholics of Adare as their parish church, which it remains as to this day.
Founded in 1315 by John Fitzgerald, son of the Earl of Kildare, and restored in 1807 by the first Earl of Dunraven, this monastery has since been used as the Church of Ireland.