Adare is one of the most popular villages in Ireland amongst visiting tourists.
A stone’s throw from both Limerick City and Shannon Airport, the charming little town is the first stop-off from many flying into Ireland.
Boasting beautiful thatched cottages, a castle, lovely walks and endless restaurants and pubs, Adare is well worth a visit, as you’ll discover below.
Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Adare in Limerick
Although a visit to Adare is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Adare is located a 20-minute spin from Limerick City, a 30-minute drive from Shannon and a 40-minute drive from the busy town of Ennis.
2. Home to a fine bit of history
The village of Adare dates back to the 12th century and you’ll find plenty of buildings from that period such as castles, abbeys and monasteries. The Geraldines of Kildare (also known as the Fitzgeralds) are responsible for the development of the town in Medieval times.
3. A picturesque village to explore Limerick from
Adare is a great base to explore County Limerick from. It’s just outside from the hustle and bustle of the city and it’s a 1-hour drive from the stunning Ballyhoura Mountains along with many of the best things to do in Limerick.
Adare is one of those towns (like Killaloe in Clare and Ardara in Donegal) that makes you realise why Ireland is beloved by travel enthusiasts the world over.
A designated a heritage town, Adare thrives on tourism, with people flocking to the area to see its charming thatch cottages and to explore the castle and the many culinary delights it has to offer.
Adare is home to a number of ancient buildings, from the Augustinian Friary to the famous Desmond Castle to the lavish Adare Manor.
The town is home to just 1,129 people (as of the 2016 census) and you’ll find it buzzing away throughout the year, but most notably during summer.
Things to do in Adare (and close by)
So, we have a dedicated guide on things to do in Adare, as there’s so much to see and do in the town and nearby.
However, I’ll give you a quick insight into our favourite things to see and do in the town below.
1. See the thatch cottages
Adare is home to many thatched cottages that were built by the Dunraven family in the early 19th-century. In the past, they served as houses for the many servants working in the Dunraven Estate.
Thatched cottages are now less than 0.1 percent of the total housing stock in Ireland, however, in the 1800s more than half of the Irish population lived in these gorgeous structures.
It’s hard to miss the cottages if you ramble through the town – many of them now play host to restaurants and cafes.
2. Take the Adare castle tour
Desmond Castle dates back to the early 13th-century and was the property of the Earls of Kildare for about 300 years. That was until 1536 when it was granted to the Earls of Desmond.
Tours are available seven days a week from June to late September and shuttle buses regularly depart from the Heritage Centre located on Main Street.
Pre-booking is essential and can be done online through the Adare Heritage Centre website.
3. Stroll through Adare Village Park
After a visit to Desmond Castle, set-off on a tranquil stroll through Adare Village Park (it’s about a 15-minute walk from the castle).
Here you can choose one of the several walking paths or simply sit on a bench and soak up the sights and sounds of this little slice of peace and quiet.
Adare Town Park is characterised by colorful flower beds and a little gazebo (pro tip: grab a coffee-to-go from Café Lógr, first, and head off on a saunter).
4. See Adare Augustinian Friary
Adare Augustinian Friary is located next to Desmond Castle, on the banks of the River Maigue and it truly is a sight to behold.
The friary, also known as Black Abbey, was founded in the late 13th century by John Fitzthomas Fitzgerald. The structure was completely refurbished in the 19th-century, however, some of its original features can still be admired to this day.
When you visit, keep an eye out for the 15th-century tower and the cloister.
5. Visit one of the many nearby attractions
After exploring the town, you’re spoiled for choice – there’s heaps of things to do nearby. Our favourite nearby ramble is Curragh Chase Forest Park, a handy 15-minute drive from the town.
This park is about 300 hectares in size and has several trails available with something for most fitness levels, as well as a number of Special Areas of Conservation.
Some other good options are Lough Gur (35-minute drive) or Limerick City (25-minute drive) which is home to King John’s Castle.
Restaurants in Adare
As there’s plenty of food options, we’ve a dedicated guide to the best restaurants in Adare. However, you’ll find our favourites below:
1. 1826 Adare
At 1826 Adare you’ll find a rustic cottage setting with chic country décors. Chef Wade Murphy has been awarded the Best Chef in Limerick Award and has worked in some of the best restaurants in London to Egypt and Chicago. 1826 Adare is located in the centre of Adare and some of the signature dishes of this place include warm chicken liver salad and head to tail free range pork tasting plate.
2. Blue Door Restaurant
The Blue Door Restaurant is located on the Main Street and features a great outdoor terrace. Here you’ll find a lunch menu, an early bird menu, an a la carte menu and a set menu. Their menus include dishes such as beer-battered fish and chips, bacon and Dubliner cheese Irish beef burger and confit of duck leg.
3. The Carriage House at Adare Manor
The Carriage House at Adare Manor is the first Michelin star restaurant in County Limerick. This elegant restaurant features huge windows facing 840 acres of pristine parkland and here you’ll find a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. For dinner, you’ll be able to choose from a variety of dishes such as fish and chips, the pan roasted stone bass and tomato and cumin pearl couscous.
Pubs in Adare
There’s some mighty pubs in Adare for those of you that fancy kicking-back with a tipple after a day spent exploring. Here are our favourite spots:
1. Sean Collins & Son Bar Adare
Sean Collins & Son Bar has been in the Collins family for three generations. The pub boasts plenty of details that you associate with a traditional Irish pub, such as the original peat burning stove where the owner’s grandmother used to cook Irish stew and apple pies.
2. The Thatch Bar
The Thatch Bar is located in Castleroberts, about a 7-minute drive from Adare. This beautifully restored traditional thatch cottage dates back to 1700 and has been in the O’Neill family for several years. The interior is cosy and intimate and boast some lovely old world charm and character.
3. Aunty Lena’s Bar Adare
Aunty Lena’s is situated in the centre of Adare on Main Street. This bar is located in a detached six-bay, two-storey courthouse dating back to 1863. The construction of this courthouse was financed by the Earl of Dunraven, who commissioned William Fogerty with the design of the building.
Accommodation in Adare
As was the case with the restaurants, we’ve a guide to the best hotels in Adare. However, here are three of our favourite places to stay:
1. Fitzgerald Woodlands House Hotel
Fitzgerald Woodlands House Hotel is around a 5-minute drive from the town centre and it’s an absolute beaut of a place to stay. The rooms are comfy, the staff are wonderful and there’s several places to eat and drink. There’s an on-site spa, too!
2. The Dunraven Hotel
The Dunraven Hotel is situated in the very centre of Adare on Main Street. Here you’ll be able to choose from luxury rooms, executive rooms, junior suites, executive suites and the Dunraven suites. The hotel also boasts three reading rooms as well as an award-winning restaurant.
3. Adare Country House
Adare Country House is situated in the heart of Adare on Blackabbey Road. This is a bed and breakfast and it make the perfect home-from-home to explore the area from. Rooms are bright, spacious and beautifully decorated.
FAQs about visiting Adare in Limerick
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is it worth seeing?’ to ‘What is there to do?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Is Adare worth visiting?
If you’re nearby then yes. There’s plenty to see in the town, great places to eat and there’s generally a good buzz about the place.
Are there many things to do in Adare?
You’ve Adare Castle, the town park, the friary, the thatch cottages and plenty of great restaurants and pubs, too.
I was born in a quiet corner of a Gaeltacht on the Dingle Peninsula. Over the years, I’ve explored Ireland far and wide, from the wilds of West Clare to the shores of Sherkin. Particularly fond of heritage, history and hikes (and words beginning with ‘H’, apparently…).