The construction of the first documented family home in Adare is often attributed to Thady Quin. The house incorporated within its core a square or oblong tower. This may have been part of the ‘Spidal Gate’, which appears in this location on Sir William Petty’s 1659 Down Survey map of Adare, or perhaps a remnant of a building constructed by Thady’s father, Donogh Quin.
The house faced south and was of two storeys and seven bays, with a three-bay pedimented breakfront. Its steep pitched roof with dormer windows, tall chimney stacks and ornamental bracket cornice emulated the Dutch building style which, although going out of fashion on the Continent, remained popular in Ireland until the early years of the eighteenth century. Turning its back on the handsome ruins of the castle and two monasteries, the house faced over a plain garden dominated by topiary in strict geometric forms. Lined on either side by tall boundaries of trees, the defining characteristic of this ornamental space was a sense of enclosure. The surrounding demesne dominated by elm trees and formally laid out avenues – much admired by the agriculturalist Arthur Young during his visit to Adare in 1776 – was of an earlier date than the house and enclosed garden.
Thady’s son Valentine Quin died 1744 and was buried in the chancel of the old parish church of St Nicholas. That Adare House and its surroundings meant a great deal to Valentine is evident in a clause contained in his will forbidding his successors ‘to destroy the ornamental trees, plantations, avenuesons, hedgerows, made by me, my father, or grandfather, about my mansion-house of Adare.’
An excerpt from A Taste of Adare Manor