History & historic sites

Adare, a designated Heritage Town, is one of the prettiest and friendliest villages in Ireland. It was founded in the 13th Century on the river Maigue.

History of Adare

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 1756 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.
Oh sweet Adare, Oh lovely vale
Oh soft retreat of sylvan splendour
Nor summer sun nor morning gale
E’er hailed a scene more softly tender
                  Gerald Griffin   1803-1840

An architectural wealth of scenic beauty

The main street is punctuated with beautiful stone buildings, medieval monasteries, ruins and a picturesque village park.


Desmond Castle

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

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.


The Trinitarian Priory

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.

The Augustinian Priory

Just a short walk from the village towards Limerick City on the banks of the river Maigue, the priory was founded by the Earls of Kildare in the early 14th century.

St. Nicholas Old Graveyard

St. Nicholas Old Graveyard is located beside Adare Manor Golf Club, on the outskirts of the village, as you arrive from Limerick city.

The Dovecote

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 Washing Pool

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.

Wesley Stone

John Wesley, Founder of the Methodist Church, preached to the people of Adare in 1756 from the shade of an ash tree close to the east wall of the Franciscan friary. This tree was still there until about 1860. Today a stone marks the site where this tree stood and the Methodists hold a ceremony here in June each year.


Lantern Lodge

The Lantern Lodge is sited at the roundabout as you approach Adare from Limerick city. This handsome Victorian Gothic Gate Lodge previously gave access to Adare Manor estate.

The Bridge

The Bridge over the river Maigue was built by Gerald, fifth Earl of Kildare, whose earldom extended from 1390 to 1410. So it was built sometime between those two dates.

Village Hall

At the top of the main street, which is the shopping area for the village, stands the Village Hall.

Adare's Thatched Cottages

In the early 19th century, the Earl of Dunraven laid the plans for the existing streets and townhouses of Adare. The original thatched cottages were built in the 1820’s.

Architectural Heritage

desmond_castleThe information provided on each of these historical sites is concise and described in a very simple form to give visitors an insight into Adare’s proud heritage. For additional information we recommend a visit to Adare Heritage Centre, where visitors can book tours of the historical sites.

Christian Brothers School

The Christian Brothers School, built of local limestone is situated on the Rathkeale Road. It was originally a Fever Hospital and later converted into a school.

Adare Courthouse

The courthouse, a two-storey building constructed of cut stone external limestone walls and a pitched slate roof with cut limestone copings and cut limestone chimney stacks was built in 1863.

Adare Manor House

Adare Manor  was the former seat of the Earls of Dunraven. The house was built in the early 19th-century and retained some of the walls of the 17th-century structure. It is now a luxury resort hotel.