It’s life’s detours that take you to the most interesting and unexpected places – like Ireland’s Adare.
We’re not fans of motorways and turnpikes. They propel you along a homogenized path that removes you from the realities of a country, where the only taste of the place you’ll get is the microwaved chicken rolls at the gas/service station.
After yet another lukewarm and totally underwhelming instant coffee its time to find the closest exit and town large enough to offer a real espresso. Adare fits the description perfectly. Situated in the heart of County Limerick it’s a colorful village that is renowned for its manor, one of Ireland’s top luxury hotels.
More concerned with locating a large skim latte (hold the sugar) than seeking out the manor, we center our activities around the Trinitarian Abbey and tourist center.
The Adare Village halls stands proudly on Rathkeale Road overlooking the village’s main street. A line of early 20th century bungalows are built alongside, like a matching set. Being a sleepy Saturday morning, a couple of local ladies are setting up stalls for the weekly markets. Across the road, O’Coileain’s pub and Bill Chawke’s are the first of a rainbow of colorful houses that have earned the village accolades as one of Ireland’s prettiest.
Tír na nÓg is a true standout on the Main Street. Dating back to 1830s, it is a well-preserved rood cottage with a thick thatched roof and white washed walls. Most of the houses along here were estate houses tied to the Dunraven Estate.
Beyond the cute cottages you’ll find upmarket boutiques like Isobel and Catherine McCormack, antique shops and cafes – we stopped for an enjoyable latte in the back of George Stacpoole Antiques, which specialized in original lithographs and historic prints.
The Trinitarian Priory
Also known as the Holy Trinity Abbey, this church, thought to date back to 1226 managed to survive the dissolution of the catholic church in the 1500s with repairs in the mid 1800s bringing it back to life as the local Roman Catholic Church. Repaired and enlarged in the mid 19th century, the building is, today, called the “Holy Trinity Abbey” and is used as the local Roman Catholic Church.
Dating back to the 1300s, the Dovecote at the Trinitarian Abbey offers a hint of what life may have been like in the middle ages. Like the priory, it was heavily damaged in the 1500s. The structure on the same site, was rebuilt in the 1850s using rocks from the original structure. Inside, square niches cut into the wall provided a warm escape for pigeons, which were a favored source of protein for the abbots and their brothers. The monks must have been tiny. The doorway can’t be more than 1.2m tall. Bernie managed to bump his head hard enough to draw blood, so don’t forget to duck on the way out too.
The fall foliage is just past its peak, but Adare Park is awash with warm oranges and golds as the leaves have their last hurrah until April. Near the entrance to the park, where the stream flows under the small bridge is the Washing Pool. This small waterhole off the Maigue river was the traditional place the women of the village washed their clothes. It was renovated in the 1970s and is a humbling reminder of what it was like before electrical appliances existed.
The Manor, Desmond Castle and Franciscan Abbey
Having detoured to experience Adare (purely by coincidence), we don’t have time left to have more than a passing glance of its most renowned attractions – the golf course, the opulent Manor hotel and the riverside ruins of the castle and abbey. They were beautiful, but it was but a fleeting glance – at least there’s another reason for us to return to this gorgeous village.
Adare is renowned for its colorful houses and historic thatched cottages. It has earned it the title of Ireland’s most picturesque village.
Adare is in County Limerick, close to Limerick.
Fly into Shannon Airport. Adare is 18km from Limerick on the N21. Bus Éireann stops in Adare on Route 13 and there are 17 buses from Dublin on Dublin Coach’s M7 service.Follow & Connect with us