There are places in the world, where “extraordinary” is a totally inadequate description. Adare Manor Castle and Golf Resort is just such a place.
Our Aer Lingus flight arrived right on time in Dublin at 5:45 a.m. We picked up our rental car and immediately headed west to County Limerick. Adare Manor was the first of four five-star luxury hotels we planned to review in Ireland in five short days. What a place to begin work!
Leaving the N21 highway, we passed through the ornate stone and iron entry to the Manor and proceeded along the perfectly maintained blacktop leading to the mansion.
It took several minutes of pleasant driving through manicured grounds to arrive at the castle.
The layout of Adare Manor Resort
The Manor House is impressive by any standard. Originally designed as a residence for the second Earl of Dunraven, the current neo-Gothic structure was completed in 1850 on a lush 840-acre parcel of land. The beautiful terraced garden precedes the house as you approach from the west.
Designed in perfect axial symmetry in formal French style, the garden has paths that were laid wide to accommodate the capacious dresses of the period – and the terraced steps were made aptly low to suit a lady’s stride.
The dreamy Maigue River, complete with white swans and rising trout, passes to one side of the Manor. The Manor’s inspired, 230-acre Robert Trent Jones Sr., golf course lies just east of the house.
There is a densely branched Cedar of Lebanon tree – planted circa 1645 – sheltering a small bridge that crosses the tranquil river and connects the main house to the golf course.
Entering the Manor House
The front door of Adare Manor resembles that of a castle as much as a manor house. To enter is to take a step across the threshold of time to an age when personal luxury was a given, and attention to detail was the maxim.
“Registration” is a single antique desk located near a massive ornate fireplace. The Concierge desk sits on the opposite side of the glowing hearth. The receptionist was welcoming, impeccably attired, and well schooled in the art of hospitality.
The Great Hall yields a calming sense of space with generous proportions open to a high ceiling. Streaming natural light emanates from towering windows.
Note the crouched gargoyle (above) holding up the mezzanine on the north wall.
He has been watching all that takes place in the room for over a century and a half.
Is that an “Oh, my gosh, this is amazing” expression?
In addition to the grand welcoming room, the Manor has a spacious sitting room, cozy library, several unique and excellent dining rooms…
and a chummy little lounge that remains open to the wee hours.
One of the dining/meeting rooms, the Minstrels’ Gallery, is a splendid hall of epic proportions that can seat up to 200 guests.
There are 62 guestrooms and suites in the main house.
Our suite’s huge sleeping room, once occupied by Bill and Hillary Clinton, overlooked the Maigue, which is one of Ireland’s most famous fly fishing rivers.
The bathroom in a nearby guestroom was almost as large as the sleeping room. It had tall windows that provided a panorama of the garden below from a vantage point of an old-style claw-footed bathtub.
It was hard to pull ourselves out of our personal sanctuary and its wonderfully inviting bed, but we wanted to visit the charming little medieval town of Adare.
Just outside the gates of the Manor, the picturesque village of Adare provides the sight seeker with authentic thatched roof cottages.
Some are residences, and others house tiny boutique shops and sundry commercial enterprises.
There are less than a dozen or so restaurants and pubs in Adare, but those that are there provide tasty victuals in true Irish fashion.
Adare is also home to the only Trinitarian monastery in Ireland, and the priory dates back to the early 13th century. An interesting footnote: The monastery monks were charged with raising ransom money to rescue Christians captured by the Moors during the Crusades.
Today the old priory is called the “Holy Trinity Abbey” and is the village’s Roman Catholic Church.
We returned to the Manor in late afternoon, just in time to enjoy a cup of tea in the library. It would be difficult not to be captivated by the room and its excellent collection of old books. We eventually spent time paging through a leather bound journal dated 1736 – an interesting read.
Last, but certainly not least, the Manor offers the full spectrum of body treatments, wraps, and massages by highly-trained therapists at the Treatment Rooms located a short walk from the Manor and in the old Coachman’s Cottage adjacent to the Golf Clubhouse.
In addition to the Spa, a fitness room, steam room, and heated swimming pool are all available for guest use in the main house.
Words to remember
There are dozens of slogans inscribed in wood and stone throughout the castle ( as in the parapet above) in both Latin and French. One Latin motto appears often. “Quae sursum volo videre”– “I wish to see what is heavenly” – very apropos for this most enchanting of Irish lodgings.
Time spent at Adare Manor Castle is noble living – the likes pleasured by kings and queens – and now available to discriminating travelers.
The celebrities and important dignitaries that have visited the manor over the generations are many. In recent times, some well-known entertainers included Samuel L Jackson, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta Jones, Hugh Grant, Aidan Quinn, and Michael Flatley.
Adare Manor is one of the best historic luxury-lodgings that we have had the privilege to present to our readers.
If you go
Adare Manor and County Limerick are in the southwestern part of Ireland bordering the counties of Kerry, Cork, Clare and Tipperary, and just 15 minutes south of Limerick City on the N21, and 30 minutes from Shannon airport.
For more information about the Adare Manor Castle and Golf Resort, look at their website at www.adaremanor.com. Golf enthusiasts should also check out www.adaregolfclub.com. The property also has a convenient American toll-free office number in Florida at 800-462-3273
© Travels with Wayne and Judy
Photos © Wayne and Judy Bayliff
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