After our day of adventure in Dublin and a lovely night at the Croke Park Hotel we were off to traverse the Emerald Isle to find our more permanent home at the Adare Manor, in Adare, a small town just outside of Limerick. As soon as we pulled out of Dublin we were captured by the beauty that is Ireland. But nothing quite prepared us for the Adare Manor.
When we turned the corner to pull up in front of the manor house we were in shock. Had we booked a vacation at Downton Abbey? Amazing. Turns out the Adare Manor currently sits on almost 900 acres of land along the Maigue River. In addition to the manor house, there are townhomes and villas (where we stayed), along with two golf courses, and a driving range. Oh, and did I mention they have a ruined early 12th century castle–Desmond, which once belonged to the ruling Fitzgerald Family–and a ruined Friary? I was pretty sure we had landed in heaven.
Turns out the Manor has quite a history. The current house, built by the Earls of Dunraven, dates to the 1830s and took over 30 years to build. One family owned the house unit it was turned into a hotel in the late 80s, which means that the house has a lot of its original over the top detail that makes it a manortastic. And although it’s great rooms have now been turned into hotel space, its still a treat to see. Eileen and I toured the house and it was fun to see all of the grand spaces–especially the rooms where the inn’s many celebrity guests (including the Clintons!) have stayed.
Although the manor house was lovely, I think we enjoyed our tour of the grounds as much as the house. And by “tour” I mean stroll around the golf course while dodging groups of Irishmen playing some SERIOUS golf. We had gorgeous weather–mid 70s and sunshine, so those golfers were not wasting it!
So why did we love dodging around a golf course? Remember the ruined castle and friary I mentioned earlier? They’re on the course! Ireland is all about the ruins of really old things (houses, castles, monasteries) and having our own private ruins was like an extra special treat. We took our time wandering around the monastery, enjoying the fact that we could explore it without roped off areas or safety rails. In the States you would never be able to wander around something like this, but in Ireland they just trust you not to do something stupid.
After spending a good amount of time wandering the friary, and Eileen amusing a bunch of golfers for posing at the tee that is actually inside the ruin, we headed over to the nearby ruined Desmond Castle, which unfortunately was fenced off. But then a nice Irishman who was on the golf course turned up and offered to show us a way around the fence. He took off and we followed. We ended up with a much more interesting look at Desmond Castle and the feeling of doing something dangerous (breaking into a castle is bad, right?).
But wait! I’ve told you all about the manor and the grounds, but not our actual abode for the week, the lovely Villa 44. The Villas at Adare are quite far away from the Manor house, and well, just about everything else on the property. But they are in a nice little neighborhood all together and they are MUCH bigger on the inside then they appear.
We knew we were getting a three bedroom place, but man was this nice! Three bedrooms, 4 full baths, kitchen, dining room, living room and a sunroom. And did I mention there were radiant heat floors? I’m pretty sure I could live here!
I would definitely recommend the Adare Manor and Resort–especially the Villas–to anyone looking for a place to stay in the West of Ireland. We did the stay in one place and drive around approach to Ireland, and it really worked well for us. I appreciated only unpacking once, and Adare is in a really good location for getting around, since it’s at a major “spoke” point in Western Ireland. And when you add in the nearby picture postcard perfect town of Adare, you can really experience a lot of Ireland right on the manor or around the town.
If you ever make it to Adare, tell Pat, our favorite conceirge, we say hi!