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Áth Dara
Main Street, Adare
Main Street, Adare
Adare is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Country Ireland
Province Munster
County County Limerick
Dáil Éireann Limerick West
Elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Population (2006)[1]
 • Village 2,454
 • Urban 982
 • Environs 1,471
Dialing code 061-39****
Irish Grid Reference R460460

Adare (; Irish: Áth Dara, meaning "ford of [the] oak"[2]) (Population 2,454 (CSO, 2006)[1] is a village in County Limerick, Ireland.


  • General information 1
    • Economy 1.1
    • Accommodation 1.2
    • Architecture 1.3
    • Schools 1.4
    • Transport 1.5
  • History 2
    • Augustinian Priory 2.1
    • Franciscan Abbey 2.2
    • Trinitarian Abbey 2.3
    • Desmond Castle 2.4
  • Sports 3
  • Interesting facts 4
  • Annalistic references 5
  • Common surnames in Adare 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

General information

"Welcome to Adare" in Irish

Adare's origin is as a settlement by a crossing point on the river Maigue. It is situated 16 km (10 mi) from Limerick city. Renowned as one of Ireland's prettiest villages,[3] Adare is designated as a Heritage Town by the Irish government. Due to its origin as village of the Dunraven estate (see also Thady Wyndham-Quin, 7th Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl), Adare has a more planned appearance than many Irish villages and towns.


Adare is a tourist destination and the local heritage centre, which gives insight into the history of the village, also hosts a number of craft shops. The town is also a popular wedding and conference venue. Adare has two 18-hole golf courses - the Adare Golf Club, which incorporates a driving range and which was the site of the 2007 and 2008 Irish Open, the Adare Manor Golf Club and a pitch and putt course. Adare also has an equestrian centre, Clonshire.


The village has three hotels: The Adare Manor, the Dunraven Arms and, to the east of the village on the road to Croom, the Woodlands House Hotel.[4]


Thatched cottage in Adare, built as part of the Dunraven estate.

The main street combines typical Irish architecture with the English styled buildings and infrastructure purpose-built for the Dunraven estate. Examples of the latter architectural forms include the thatched cottages near the entrance to Adare Manor.


Schools in Adare include Scoil Naomh Iosaf (boys),[5] Our Lady's Abbey National School (girls),[6] St Nicholas' National School (mixed)[7] and Scoil Seán tSraide (mixed).


The proposed route of the Adare bypass, in orange (click for larger image)

The main Limerick-Tralee road, the N21 goes through the village.

The long-planned Adare Bypass is in still in the planning process. A revised lower cost, southerly, route of the bypass to link to the proposed (although suspended) M20 Cork - Limerick motorway was rejected by An Bord Planeala in October 2012. The rejection was due to lack of adequate mitigation of risks of contamination of the river Maigue at Castleroberts water abstraction point.[8] All other objections to the bypass were dismissed and the case for a bypass accepted. However, the bypass route was based upon construction of the northern section of the new M20 Limerick-Cork road, west of Patrickswell. As the M20 scheme has been postponed by the National Roads Authority it may be necessary to consider the route for the Adare bypass afresh in order to avoid the eastern end of the bypass having to connect with a two lane single carriageway part of the existing N20.

Adare is a stop on the hourly Limerick-Tralee/Killarney bus service. The closed "North Kerry" railway line to Foynes and Tralee passes half a mile to the north-west of the town.[9]

Adare railway station, opened on 12 July 1856 by the Limerick & Foynes Railway, was closed to passengers on 4 February 1963 and to freight on 2 December 1974. The line to Foynes continued to carry freight traffic until it was mothballed in 2001 and has seen no trains since 7 May 2002 when the annual Irish Rail weedspray train visited the line. The line, designated an engineers siding, is still officially open for traffic.[10]


The ancient town lay upon the eastern bank of the Maigue near a ford (crossing point) in the region known as Ardshanbally (derived from Ard an tSeanbhaile - 'high ground of the old town'), about half-a mile from the modern town on the western side. Historically a market town, in the Middle Ages, Adare boasted three monasteries and a castle (Desmond Castle).

Augustinian Priory

"Augustinian Abbey, Adare
(with the castle of the Fitzgeralds and the Francescan Abbey)", 1842

The Augustinian Priory was founded in 1316 by John FitzThomas FitzGerald, 1st Earl of Kildare. The Priory was suppressed in the reign of Henry VIII. In 1807, the church of the Priory was given to the local Church of Ireland congregation as the parish church.[11] In 1814, the refectory was roofed and converted into a schoolhouse. Between 1852 and 1854, a second restoration of the church was undertaken by Caroline, Countess of Dunraven.

Franciscan Abbey

The Franciscan friary was founded in 1464 by Thomas Fitz-Maurice, 7th Earl of Kildare and his wife Joan, and completed two years later. It is currently a ruin and is located inside the Adare Manor Golf Club.[11] Every Easter Sunday a dawn mass is celebrated in the Abbey.

Trinitarian Abbey

Trinitarian Monastery

The Trinitarian Order established their only monastery in Ireland in Adare in 1230.[11] It is believed that the Trinitarian monks who came to Adare may have come from Scotland. The Abbey was restored in 1811 by the first Earl of Dunraven as the Catholic Parish church.

Desmond Castle

Desmond Castle

A castle or fortress is said to have first been built with an ancient ring-fort, by the O'Donovans, rulers of the region into the late 12th century, and afterwards to have passed into the possession of the Kildare branch of the FitzGerald dynasty, who may be responsible for the majority of the remains of the present fortress (which occurred with Croom Castle, also on the Maigue). Desmond Castle, as it is popularly known, stands on the north bank of the Maigue. An extensive renovation has been in progress on the castle since 1996 and supervised tours are offered in the summer months. This is one of a series of significant Desmond properties, which also include the banqueting hall in Newcastle West, another castle in Askeaton and Castle Matrix near Rathkeale, further west in County Limerick.


  • Gaelic games, particularly hurling, are popular in Adare. The Adare GAA club was founded in 1929. The senior hurling team has won the county championship in 2001, 2002, 2007 and 2008. In football, Adare have been less successful, although in 2002 Adare only narrowly lost out on the county title in the Limerick Senior Football Championship.
  • The local soccer team is known as Adare United AFC. They currently play at Deer Park Field, situated just off the Blackabbey Road in the village. Founded in 1937, Adare has one of the oldest soccer clubs outside Limerick city. Adare United participate in the Limerick Desmond Schoolboys/Girls League at Under 8, U10, U12, U14 and U16 age groups and in the Limerick Desmond League at Junior (adult) and Youth level. The 2006/07 Season saw the club form its first ladies team, who compete in the Limerick Desmond Ladies League. In the 2009/10 Season, the ladies were runners up in the League Cup, losing on penalties to Glin Rovers FC. The team were also cup finalists the following year, this time in the Desmond Cup but were beaten by Murroe FC. The Under 10 team were Division 3 Champions in the 2008/09 season and Division 4 winners in 2010/11. The Under 8 team completed a league and cup double in 2010/11. The Junior team won promotion from Division Two in the 08/09 season and immediately gained promotion to the premier league the following year. Adare Ladies won the Desmond Cup in the 2011/2012 season and were runners-up in League Div. 1.
  • The Irish Open golf championship was staged there in 2007 and 2008. There are two 18-hole golf courses in the village: The Adare Golf Club which is on the grounds of the Adare Manor Hotel, and the Adare Manor Golf Club, which is a separate entity.
  • The town also plays a role in the West Limerick athletics scene, with it hosting the Adare 10K run every February since 1994.

Interesting facts

Annalistic references

  • AI982.4 The Tree of Mag Adar was broken by Leth Cuinn.

Common surnames in Adare

According to Irish Census 1901 & 1911.

Brennan, Carmody, Chawke, Hickey, McNamara, Kelly, McMahon, Ryan, Smith,Hogan, Lyons, O'Donnell, O'Regan, Switzer,Fitzgerald, Walsh.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Census 2006 – Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office Census 2006 Reports.  
  2. ^ Historical Notes on Adare By Thomas Edward Bridgett
  3. ^ Shannon Region Tourism - Shannon Development
  4. ^ Fitzgerald's Woodlands House Hotel
  5. ^ Scoil Naomh Iosaf Web site
  6. ^ Our Lady's Abbey web site
  7. ^ St. Nicholas' National School website
  8. ^ see section 5.7 of the Inspectors Report (
  9. ^ Industrial Heritage Ireland - Adare Railway Station photographs
  10. ^ "Adare station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  11. ^ a b c "History", Adare Village
  12. ^
  13. ^ Lonely Planet Travel Guide: Antarctica

External links

  • Adare Heritage Centre
  • Shannon Region Tourism's page on Adare
  • General Information on Adare
  • Obituary of the 7th Earl of Dunraven, Thady Wyndham-Quin
  • Index of the Earl of Dunraven Papers at the University of Limerick
  • Adare local area plan (Limerick County Council)(2002)
  • The Tidy Towns of Ireland "Celebrating 50 years"
  • Knockpatrick Gardens
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