Adare Tourist Attractions
Adare (Ath Dara, "Ford of the Oak Tree") lies on the wooded west bank of the River Maigue, some 9mi/16km southwest of Limerick on the busy road leading to Killarney. With its thatched roofs and old gray-walled church, it has something of the air of an English village. The 14-arched stone bridge affords a very attractive view of the beautifully planted banks of the river and the old buildings in the background.
Adare Manor, a neo-Gothic mansion (1832) set in a park, which is now largely occupied by a golf course, was converted to a luxury hotel some years ago. The principal rooms, including the hall and picture gallery, are open to the public. The tea room provides pleasant views of the gardens and terraces. In the park, on the banks of the river, are the extensive ruins of Desmond Castle (13th C.), a romantic sight with its semicircular towers and lushly overgrown walls.Also in the park are the ruins of a Franciscan friary founded in 1464, with later additions. The nave, choir and south transept of the church survive; fine fonts, niches and stalls in choir. Beautiful cloister with an old yew tree in the center; conventual buildings.
The Roman Catholic parish church originally belonged to a Trinitarian abbey built in the 13th C. It reached its present size and form only in the 19th C.
This annual two-week festival takes place in mid-July and includes dozens of concerts in a 2000-seat tent on the grounds of the Adare Manor. The repertoire focuses on symphonic and classical music, but some concerts featuring jazz or other contemporary styles are often included in the program.
The Adare Heritage Center allows visitors to experience Adare's unique history from 1233 to present. The story is told through realistic model enactments and audio visuals in English, Irish, Italian, French and German.
Adare Carling Jazz Festival
This annual four-day festival takes place in mid-March.
5mi/8km southeast of Adare on the N20 is Croom, with a 12th C. castle restored in the 19th C. In the 18th C., it was the meetingplace of the "Maigue poets." West of Croom are the ruins of a 15th C. church (National Monument) and a massive round tower (12th C.), the top part of which is missing.
Croom Mills Visitor Centre
Croom Mills is home to a heritage centre where visitors can experience the milling process through hands-on exhibits and an audio-visual presentation.
4km/2.5mi east of Croom are the remains of Monasteranenagh Abbey (National Monument), a Cistercian house dating mainly from the 12th C. with good carving.
7mi/11km southwest of Adare on the N21, on the River Deel, lies the little market town of Rathkeale, around which are a number of ruined castles. One of them, Castle Matrix (1440) has been restored; contains period furniture and objets d'art.
Early in the 18th C. many German refugees from the Palatinate were resettled in the district around Adare and Rathkeale, which then became known as the Palatine. They preserved much of their way of life until late in the 19th C., and German family names can still be found in the area.
5mi/8km west of Adare stands Cappagh Castle (15th C.), a strongly fortified keep 70ft/21mi high, with 16th C. turrets at the eastern corners.