CASTLES & HISTORIC BUILDINGS
Adare, West Limerick and the wider mid-west region is steeped in living history, much of which dates back to the middle ages.
The village of Adare boasts a history stretching back to the time of the Norman Conquest with a walk along the main street taking you past the 13th century Desmond Castle, one of the few remaining Norman castles in Europe; the 14th century Augustinian Friary which is now St. Nicholas Church of Ireland; the Trinitarian Abbey, part of which dates back to circa 1230; and the Franciscan Friary which is situated on the course at Adare Manor Golf Club. Next door lies Adare Manor, the former seat of the Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl. Now a luxury five-star hotel, its Gallery is the perfect setting for an indulgent afternoon tea.
Adare is also home to a Methodist Church which dates back to the 1870s. Indeed, founder of the Methodist Church, Rev. John Wesley, is said to have visited the area on ten occasions between 1756 and 1778, preaching under an ash tree near the ruin of the Franciscan Abbey on at least one occasion and a stone now marks the place.
The nearby ancient town of Askeaton is a popular stop for history lovers, boasting one of the most complete ruins of a medieval abbey in the country (the Franciscan Friary) as well as a host of other historic buildings and churches come of which date back to the time of the Knights Templar.
Along the banks of the Shannon Estuary you will find the ancestral home of the Knight of Glin Castle. Now owned by Catherine Fitzgerald, the daughter of the late – and last – Knight of Glin, and her husband actor Dominic West, the castle often plays host to events open to the public. The county town of Newcastle West, a short drive from Adare, is not only home to one of the finest town squares in Munster, but also the imposing Desmond Castle and Banqueting Hall, parts of which date back to the 13th century.
In Limerick City you will also find King John’s Castle which dates back to 1210 and St Mary’s Cathedral which was founded in 1168, while Bunratty Castle (and its legendary banquets!) is just a 30-minute drive away.
And, if you are looking for the ‘gift of eloquence’, Blarney Castle and the famous Blarney Stone is just over an hour away.