The history of Adare

Adare became the home of the de Warenne Dynasty in Ireland under Queen Elizabeth. Here is the real Adare!

Adare Manor

As rich in beauty as it is in history, Adare Manor is an architectural masterpiece of towers, turrets, and stonework ornamentation surrounded by breathtaking gardens, majestic trees and fascinating ruins dating back over eight hundred years. The legendary 18th-century Manor is perched along the River Maigue and has been lovingly transformed from a private home into one of the world's premier luxury resorts, all the while maintaining that special essence which is so uniquely Adare.

Adare Manor borrows it’s name from the nearby village of Adare complete with it’s delightful thatched roof cottages, lively pubs, and antique shops. The Manor “structurally” as it exists today was not begun until 1832. The Second Earl of Dunraven and his wife, Lady Caroline Wyndham, were living in a Georgian house built in the 1720's by Valentine Quin, grandfather of the first Earl. But Lord Dunraven, crippled with gout, was unable to participate in the usual activities of a landed gentleman of leisure, so Lady Caroline devised the idea of a new manor house to give him something important to do.

Adare Entry

As it turned out, it was a magnificent suggestion: the building of the house provided labour for the surrounding villagers during the terrible potato famine that devastated the country during the mid-19th century. Though Lady Caroline went to great lengths to establish the myth that Adare Manor was planned entirely by her husband without an architect, it is fairly certain today that much of the design work was completed by James Pain who, along with his brother George Richard, had been commissioned to design numerous public buildings and country homes. The actual construction was supervised by James Connolly, a local mason, until his death in 1852.

Adare Minstrels

The structure is a series of visual allusions to famous Irish and English homes that the Dunravens admired. It is replete with curious eccentricities such as the turreted entrance tower at one corner rather than in the centre, 52 chimneys to commemorate each week of the year, 75 fireplaces and 365 leaded glass windows. The lettered text carved into the front of the south parapet reads: "Except the Lord build the house, the labour is but lost that built it." The elaborate decoration is a miracle of stonework - arches, gargoyles, chimneys and bay windows. The interior spaces are designed on a grand scale. One of the most renowned interior spaces is the Minstrel's Gallery: 132 foot long, 26-1/2 foot high expanse inspired by the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles and lined on either side with 17th Century Flemish Choir Stalls. The private rooms hardly pale in comparison to the public rooms with elaborately decorated stone and wood craftsmanship and sweeping views of the river.

The bedrooms

Adare bedroom

The Manor House bedrooms are the most exclusive accommodation on the property. Set in a unique and grand Gothic style Manor house, you feel like you are in the most elegant castle imaginable. The hallways are made of stone and wood and the ceilings soar high above you, as you wander to your historical bedroom.

The Manor has four different categories of rooms, varying in size and price. The room types include five Dunraven Staterooms, eight Staterooms, thirty four Deluxe rooms and sixteen Standard rooms. Each of our room types are available with either one king sized bed or two queen sized beds. The Manor House bedrooms are of the highest standard.

Adare bedroom

The Dunraven Staterooms are the most exclusive accommodation at Adare Manor. These are ornate and spacious gems. The fireplaces in the Dunraven Staterooms are works of art in themselves, with handcarved wood and imported tiles and marble from all over the world. Four out of our five Dunraven Staterooms have a majestic four poster bed (without canape). Each room has a spectacular view, large sitting areas with sofas, chairs and tables for your comfort and privacy. Adare Manor has hosted Heads of State, celebrities, world-famous athletes and special guests from all walks of life visiting Ireland, who have enjoyed these sumptuous surroundings.

The village of Adare

Adare village

Snuggled in a wooden and lush countryside setting, Adare is widely regarded as being Ireland's prettiest and most picturesque village. Situated on the river Maigue, a tributary of the Shannon river, Adare (Gaelic name: "Ath Dara" - the "ford of the oak" - from the combination of water and woodland) dates back, at least, to the early 13th century. During its long history, Adare, as a strategic location, has been the subject of many conquests, wars and rebellions.

Adare river

The old town of Adare, which stood on the northern bank of the river Maigue, near the Desmond castle, was destroyed during the 16th century wars. Almost all of the present village was built in the 19th century. The early developments were very haphazard but from about 1820, streets and buildings were laid out according to the, then, Earl of Dunraven’s design. He built houses and rented them, under various agreements, to his tenants, working on his estate lands.

Today, Adare village has a rich wealth of heritage, as well as architectural and scenic beauty. Two groups of, world famous, ornate, thatched cottages line part off the village’s broad main street, punctuated with beautiful stone buildings, medieval monasteries and ruins.

Desmond Castle


The time-worn remains of this Anglo-Norman fortress stands on the bank of the "Maigue" river and viewable from the bridge. This castle was erected, within an ancient ring-fort, around the early part of the 13th century. It became a strategic fortress during the following turbulent years. It was the property of the Earls of Kildare for nearly 300 years until the Silken Thomas's rebellion of 1536, when it was forfeited and granted to the Earls of Desmond (they gave the castle its present name). Barely forty years later, in 1578, the Munster Geraldines were themselves in rebellion and lost the castle to English troops after an eleven-day siege. Attempts to retrieve the castle resulted in a series of notably bloody sieges in 1579, 1581 and 1600, leaving the fabric badly damaged. In 1657, it was dismantled by the Palliamentary forces of Oliver Cromwell.

The Franciscan Friary


Located in the grounds of the Adare Manor Golf Club, the friary is a characteristic example of the monasteries erected in Ireland during the 14th and 15th centuries. It was founded in 1464 by the Thomas, the 7th Earl of Kildare, for the "Franciscan Friars of the Strict Observance". Although now in ruins, the remaining walls show a remarkable outline of its former elegance. Many of it’s excellent proportioned gables remain in a good state, as does it’s graceful and beautiful seventy two foot central tower, soaring over a roofless nave and transepts, with gable ends gaunt against the skyline.

We hope you have enjoyed our brief tour of Adare Manor and surrounding grounds. Thank you to Adare Manor for graciously allowing us the exclusive use of pictures and text providing Brenda's readers an inside glimpse of the Adare we read about. We invite you to click on the map below and explore more of the grounds of this magical and beautiful place.

Adare Map