Adare, Co. Limerick


Renowned as one of Ireland’s prettiest villages, Adare is designated as a Heritage Town by the Irish government. Adare is located 16 km (10 mi) from Limerick City.

Adare is a major tourist destination, with many tours of Ireland’s south-west stopping off in the village. The local heritage centre, which gives a deep insight into the history of the village, also hosts a number of craft shops. Adare is also a popular wedding and conference venue. Adare is becoming a major golf destination with two 18-hole courses – the Adare Golf Club, which incorporates a driving range and which was the site of the 2007 and 2008 Irish Open, the Adare Manor Golf Club and a Pitch and Putt course. Adare has one equestrian centre: Clonshire. Adare is home to a number of world-renowned stables.

The main street combines quintessential Irish architecture with the English styled buildings and infrastructure purpose-built for the Dunraven estate. Examples of the latter architectural forms include the thatched cottages near the entrance to Adare Manor.


The ancient town lay upon the eastern bank of the Maigue near a ford (crossing point) in the region known as Ardshanbally (derived from ard sean bhaile, ‘high old town’), about half-a mile from the modern town on the western side. Historically a market town, in the Middle Ages Adare was a major settlement and boasted three monasteries and a castle.

Augustinian Priory

“Augustinian Abbey, Adare

(with the castle of the Fitzgeralds and the Francescan Abbey)”, 1842

The Augustinian Priory was founded in 1316 by John FitzThomas FitzGerald, 1st Earl of Kildare. The Priory was suppressed in the reign of Henry VIII. In 1807, the church of the Priory was given to the local Church of Ireland congregation as the parish church. In 1814 the refectory was roofed and converted into a schoolhouse. Between 1852 and 1854 a second restoration of the church was undertaken by Caroline, Countess of Dunraven.

Franciscan Abbey

The Franciscan friary was founded in 1464 by Thomas Fitz-Maurice, 7th Earl of Kildare and his wife Joan, and completed two years later. It is currently a ruin and is located inside the Adare Manor Golf Club. Every Easter Sunday a dawn mass is celebrated in the Abbey.

Trinitarian Abbey

The Trinitarian Order established their only monastery in Ireland in Adare in 1230. The Abbey was restored in 1811 by the first Earl of Dunraven as the Catholic Parish church.

Desmond Castle

Said to have been built originally by the O’Donovans, and afterwards to have passed into the possession of the Kildare branch of the FitzGeralds. Desmond castle, as it is popularly known stands on the north bank of the Maigue. An extensive renovation is being carried out on the castle since 1996 and supervised tours are offered in the summer months.


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