Adare is a small town in County Limerick in the Shannon Region of western Ireland. It's one of the prettiest towns in the country, with a castle and a plush golf resort. Adare grew up at a point where the River Maigue can be forded, hence its name Áth Dara, "ford of the oak".
Adare is 15 km southwest of Limerick city. The M20 / N21 leads to Adare but there's no bypass, so the town is always congested with traffic passing through to Kerry on top of tourist traffic for the town itself. Plans for a bypass were lodged in early 2020: no completion date is stated, but the Ryder Cup is being staged in Adare in 2026, and the congestion will be shambolic if the bypass hasn't opened by then.
By bus: Bus Éireann No 13 and 14 run from Limerick hourly, daily, taking 20 min. They continue via Rathkeale to Newcastle West, whence the 13 runs every two hours via Listowel to Tralee, while the 14 runs every two hours via Abbeyfeale and Kerry airport to Killarney.
The bus stop eastbound towards Limerick is outside the Heritage Centre, while the westbound buses to Tralee or Killarney stop outside the Post Office.
Access to the castle is by shuttle bus, everything else is best visited on foot. There's a free public car park (monitored by CCTV) behind the Heritage Centre, with an e-car charging point. Street parking is difficult because of the congestion.
The best place to start is the 1 Adare Heritage Centre on Main Street, open daily 09:00-18:00. Use the free car & coach park behind. The centre has a small exhibition, a restaurant, and inevitably a large gift shop.
- Desmond Castle (Go to Heritage Centre for tickets and shuttle bus, no walk-up access). June-Sept daily 09:00-18:00. 13th C ring-fortress, the stronghold of the Earls of Kildare till 1536 then forfeited and awarded to the Earls of Desmond. Visit by guided tour from the Heritage Centre. Adult €10.
- The Augustinian friary was the original "black abbey" and is now the attractive St Nicholas Church of Ireland and school. It's well preserved, with a 15th C cloister and sedilia, and a 16th C Pieta. It's usually accessible daytime, on Main Street at the river bridge.
- The Trinitarian friary in town centre was restored in the 19th C and is now Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church.
- The Franciscan friary is a ruin on Adare Manor Golf Course. You can stroll around but watch out for golfers.
- Lots of thatched cottages throughout the village, with a scrummage of tourists around them. Alas the impossibly cute Tír na nÓg cottage was wrecked by fire in 2015.
- Adare Manor is now a plush hotel, see "Sleep".
- Croom Castle 5 km south of Adare probably dates to 13th C but is now just a heap of ruined masonry.
- The town park is south side of the main road.
- Golf: Adare has two courses but the names are confusing. The Adare Manor Golf Club is on the grounds of the Manor but not part of the hotel, access is from the main road north of town. The yellow tees are 5533 yards, par 69, and a round costs €35.
- What's now called The Golf Course at Adare Manor is part of the hotel resort. The course, re-designed in 2017 by Tom Fazio, is open mid-March to Dec. It's 7509 yards, par 72, and a round costs €400 plus obligatory caddie fee.
- There's also a pitch and putt course 500 m south of town.
There's an ATM outside the AIB bank by the roundabout in town centre.
Several craft shops along main drag, they're all a bit tourist-trappy.
- The Arches, Main St, ☏ . Daily 11:00-21:30. Friendly restaurant, good place to bring kids.
- Blue Door, Main St. Daily 12:00-21:00. Bistro gets consistently great reviews for food and welcome.
- Houfu, Main St, ☏ . M-Sa 16:00-00:00, Su 14:00-23:00. Good Chinese for sit in or takeaway.
- The Maigue is in Dunraven Arms Hotel, see "Sleep".
- The Wild Geese, Rose Cottage, Main St, ☏ . Tu-Sa 11:30-15:00, 18:00-22:00; Su 12:30-15:00. Upscale Irish cuisine in 1820s cottage, reservations recommended.
- Bill Chawke's stands at the start of Rathkeale Rd, open Su-Th 10:00-00:30, F Sa 10:00-01:30.
- Chawke's is bracketed by two Collins' bars: Sean Collins south also has accommodation. Pat Collins is just north. They're both open daily from 10:00 to around midnight.
- Aunty Lena's on Main Street does good food and is open Tu-Su 09:00-00:00, M 12:00-00:30.
- 1 Adare Camping and Caravan Park, Drehidtrasna, Adare (3 km south of town), ☏ . Open April-Sept, well-run site, clean and welcoming. Small tent €22, motor home or caravan €26.
- Dunraven Arms, Main Street, Blackabbey, Adare, ☏ . Mid-price hotel in an old coaching inn. Mostly good reviews, some decor tired and the occasional breakfast malfunction. Free parking, leisure centre. B&B double €100.
- 2 Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel, Knockanes (1 km east of village), ☏ . Spa hotel, scores well for comfort, food and especially for service. B&B double €100.
- Numerous B&Bs and guesthouses.
- Splurge at 3 Adare Manor Hotel (in parkland east edge of town). Grand hotel & golf resort, mostly 19th C - in 1836 the entire property was valued at a mere £130! Also hosts Adare Golf Club and Limerick Cricket Club. B&B double from €750.
- 4 Fanningstown Castle, Fanningstown (5 km southeast of village), ☏ . Plush hotel in 19th C pseudo-Gothic "castle," five bedrooms, sleeps ten. Popular with wedding parties in summer, you can hire the whole place for three nights from €1200.
Adare has a good mobile and 4G signal from all Irish carriers. As of July 2020, 5G has not reached this area.
Usual precautions about safety in the seething traffic and not leaving valuables unguarded. The Garda (Police) station is in the yellow building opposite the Post Office.
See County Limerick for nearby attractions such as Foynes Flying Boat Museum, and the prehistoric site of Lough Gur.