Lunchtime! We were on our way south from Co. Clare and stopped in the picturesque village of Adare to stretch the legs and have a nice meal. So glad we did!
Fired up about thatched cottages
Adare, just 15 minutes southwest of Limerick, didn’t look like it had changed much since a previous visit long ago, but there were a few surprises under the pretty surface. For starters, in 2015 a fire wreaked havoc on several of the famous thatched cottages lining the main thoroughfare. Most of the damage was restored well, but there’s still work to be done on one or two cottages. In general, the street looks lovely once again and you can hardly see any difference.
In a Manor of speaking
Then, on the northern edge of town, the upscale Adare Manor has been closed for over year under an extensive refurbishment program. Originally the home of the Earls of Dunraven, the resort’s upgrade is just about done: they’re back on November 2nd! Speaking of upgrades, alas and of course, the reopening brings much higher room rates. Bit of a setback for many a traveler’s budget! And if you want to play golf, be prepared, as the green fees are rumored to be the highest in Ireland once the golf course reopens around March 2018.
A call to Arms
However, Adare offers lodging alternatives that are easier on the budget. I rather like the Dunraven Arms, a family-friendly 4 star right at the top of Main Street. It looks inviting with its flowers displays and is only a 2 minute walk from the centre. There’s also a nice choice just outside of town for lodging that offers more of a countryside feeling.
Carefree parking in Adare
Main Street can get very busy, but parking in Adare is easy. A large public lot right behind the Adare Heritage Centre on the north/west side of Main is big enough even for the tour buses that stop here for the same reasons we did. Park – for free! – then simply walk into the Centre for a stop at the Tourist Information to prepare for your visit, ask questions, get a map – or book a trip to Adare Desmond Castle right here! Not to be confused with Desmond Castle in Kinsale, this one is by tour only, June through September. The Centre also offers several gift, arts, crafts and food outlets.
Having negotiated those outlets, we walked through the Centre to emerge on the other side, where we turned left on Main towards the Trinitarian Abbey. Known today as the Holy Trinity Abbey Church, it serves as an active Catholic Parish church. Founded in the 1200s, the Abbey was the Trinitarian Order’s only Monastery in Ireland.
Fun fact: the historic evidence is not conclusive but it seems likely the Trinitarian or White Friar monks came from Scotland! Aye, another Celtic intertwinement…
So, lunchtime indeed! Adare offers lots of options, in taste and budget. We picked the Blue Door, a small and totally charming restaurant, inside and outside, a short walk up the street along more cottages.
The Blue Door was very close to but luckily escaped that 2015 fire. Check out the picture below where you can see a damaged cottage to its right. The Blue Door provided good old warm Irish hospitality, and our meals were lovely. Sorry folks: I demolished it before remembering I should have taken a plated meal picture!
After the meal, we sat around enjoying a nice coffee: gotta stay awake after eating a copious meal in the middle of the day, especially after the inevitable Full Irish breakfast I scarfed down this morning! And more driving coming up…
A pleasant Park
Done with the coffee, we took another relaxed stroll through town. Adare is small, with less than 3,000 people but it has several pleasant side streets to go have a peek at houses and cottages. Adare Park with its thatched Pavilion, just about across from the Heritage Centre and car park, is lovely to meander through.
Back in the car, we left the parking lot, dodging a bus or two: remember to drive on the left, and watch your car’s mirrors in more ways than one! With Adare fading in those mirrors, we declared this our most successful lunch stop of the trip to date: Adare is officially adorable indeed.
My travel blog “Con’s Corner” takes a sometimes irreverent look at 4+ decades of travel in the British Isles. My trips are real: no months of staging the perfect photo, no waiting for the perfect weather, no Photoshopping, no promo story in exchange for a freebie: I pay full fare. It’s true travel. Note that the company does not necessarily share my opinions and views. In fact, they may be shaking their heads. The photography is mine (except where credited as noted), as are all typos, grammatical errors, and odd expressions. It’s a blog, people, not literature! I also accept full responsibility for any puns, varying on a scale from hilarious to ouch… Be all that as it may, I intend to keep at it until I get it right. Con Jager, Santa Rosa, USA.
(R) Photography by Robin Gabbert
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