Situated along the banks of the River Maigue near Limerick city, this picturesque little village features pretty thatched cottages, medieval churches covered in ivy, and gardens blooming in a variety of colours. Although the cottages are medieval in appearance, they were actually erected in the mid 19th century by the third Earl of Dunraven, who had a great interest in early Irish architecture, for his estate tenants. At the centre of the estate stands the imposing presence of Adare Manor. This stately, Tudor-Gothic revival mansion was built in 1832 and was formerly the family home of the Dunravens. It now serves as a hotel.
When you take a guided walking tour of Adare (available during the tourist season), you’ll find that some of the cottages are actually fully equipped shops, offering a variety of antiques and Irish craft items, including beautiful Aran sweaters and other knitwear. You can also visit the heraldry shop and find information and merchandise related to your family’s genealogical roots.
The Adare Heritage Center is filled with exhibited items covering the period from AD 1233 to the present day. Models, enactments, and audiovisuals tell the story of the area’s history. Exhibitions of traditional music and dance are available at scheduled times, and you can avail of the café, shops, and library located here.
Adare Village also contains a variety of ruins to explore, including those of a castle on the riverbanks, a Franciscan friary from 1464 and the Desmond family chapel from the 15th century. Near the bridge across the River Maigue, you can see the remains of a 14th century Augustinian friary, which became a Church of Ireland parish facility in 1875. The refectory was transformed into a school and its cloisters later used as mausoleums.
Adare is situated about 18 kilometres southwest of Limerick City, on the N21 Limerick-Tralee route.