In the mid-19th century, the Second Earl of Dunraven and his wife, Lady Caroline, transformed their modest Georgian home in County Limerick into a castle worthy of a fairy tale. Set on the banks of the River Maigue, the commanding, neo-Gothic Adare Manor & Golf Resort sits amid 840 acres of lush parkland. Reflecting the earl's eccentric tastes, the mansion includes several whimsical touches, including a stained-glass window for each day of the year and 52 chimneys for each week.
At the 2011 World Travel Awards, the manor was named Ireland's Leading Hotel. One of the characteristics that sets it apart is its championship golf course, which spans a meandering waterway and unfurls past magnificent trees and old stone cottages. Tiered french gardens bloom with boxwood parterres, red roses, and a lebanese cedar dating back to 1645.
The manor's opulent interior abounds with Waterford crystal chandeliers, wainscoted oak walls, and gilded mirrors. The Oakroom restaurant is equally luxurious, serving haute cuisine and vintage wines at candlelit tables. At the underground Tack Room bar, guests sip cocktails as the resident pianist leads late-night sing-alongs and early-morning blarney-offs.
Guests retire to three-bedroom villas stationed on the grounds of Adare Manor. Outfitted with a fully equipped kitchen, flat-screen TVs, and other amenities, the dwellings offer both sophistication and comfort. During their stay, visitors enjoy complimentary access to the iconic Cliffs of Moher and a tour of the famed House of Waterford Crystal, where skilled artisans mold, blow, cut, and engrave stunning works of glass.
Roughly 20 minutes south of Limerick and two hours southwest of Dublin, the secluded village of Adare lies amid lush countryside dotted with medieval churches and thatched-roof cottages. Once a thriving market town, the village became an important religious site in the Middle Ages, when three monasteries were constructed there. The area's history, including its volatile involvement with England, is well told at the Adare Heritage Centre, where guests can string a longbow and box Cromwell's ghost. Come wedding season, glowing brides and grooms pose all over town for photographs, further reinforcing the village's lively, convivial spirit.
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