The Geraldines of Kildare developed Adare in mediaeval times and the present village was largely an early 19th century creation by the Dunravens. The building of the Gothic style Adare manor began in 1831.
In 1765 John Wesley preached to the people of Adare from under an ash tree near the Franciscan Friary and the tree was still there until about 1860. Today a stone marks the site where this tree stood and the Methodists hold a Field Meeting here in June each year. In the early 19th century, the Earl of Dunraven, laid the plans for the existing streets and townhouses of Adare. These lands and dwellings were rented to tenants under various agreements, some of which still exist today.
The main street is punctuated with beautiful stone buildings, medieval monasteries, ruins and a picturesque village park.
The Desmond Castle is located on the edge of the village of Adare, just off the N21 on the main Limerick to Kerry road.
The Franciscan friary of Adare lies in the demesne of Adare Manor on the east bank of the river Maigue opposite the medieval castle of the earls of Desmond.
Situated next to the Adare Heritage Centre, this is the only recorded Trinitarian monastery in Ireland. It was originally built by the Fitzgerald Clan for the Trinitarian order of monks in the early 13th century.
Just a short walk from the village towards Limerick City on the banks of the rivery Maigue, the priory was founded by the Earls of Kildare in the early 14th century.
St. Nicholas Old Graveyard is located beside Adare Manor Golf Club, on the outskirts of the village, as you arrive from Limerick city.
Freestanding circular-plan dovecote or columbarium, rebuilt c. 1850, incorporating fabric of an earlier structure, possibly dating from the mid fourteenth century. Domed slate roof with cut stone eaves course. Rubble limestone walls. Camber-headed opening with cut stone voussoirs and cast-iron gate. Interior walls with square-headed recesses.
The small pool in the centre of the village is formed by a tributary of the river Maigue and this was the traditional place for the women of Adare to wash their family clothes. It was also used as a watering place for animals.