It is our usual policy to bring you news of hotels, restaurants and bars at the time of their launch.
In fact many of our stories are exclusives, so for us to feature a venue that opened eighteen months ago it has to be relevant and special.
Adare Manor is just that, relevant in today’s market and very special indeed.
Set on an 842-acre estate surrounded by medieval ruins, walled gardens and winding woodland paths, Adare Manor in County Limerick has become one of Ireland’s leading five-star castle properties.
Adare Manor is the largest restoration project of its kind in Ireland and the transformation honours the building’s architectural heritage as a Neo-Gothic masterpiece whilst incorporating the latest in contemporary luxury.
Each of the opulent manor rooms and suites embody its rich history and signature style.
Rising from the ground through the time of the Irish Famine, Adare Manor provided a source of employment for the village and so the relationship between the Manor House and the village people of Adare is harmonious and has deep foundations.
It was built to the highest standards of the day by craftspeople from the village and nearby areas, whilst its owner, the 2nd Earl of Dunraven, travelled Ireland, England and continental Europe in search of architectural inspiration.
A succession of fashionable architects and interior designers were employed and ultimately a magnificent gothic mausoleum was built.
By the 1860’s, this grand project had transformed the 2nd Earl’s family seat – a typical Georgian mansion on the banks of the Maigue – into the romantic Neo-Gothic gem that is Adare Manor.
It remained the home of successive generations of the Dunraven family until the 1980’s when Adare Manor was sold and transformed into, what it is now, one of the finest five star hotels in Ireland.
Adare Manor is a tribute to the Dunraven’s sense of exuberance, wit and style.
Although work began on Adare Manor in the 19th century, its architectural style was heavily influenced by the castles, churches and manor houses of the 13th century medieval period.
This Gothic revival was inspired by a romantic view of the past, which celebrated chivalry, heritage and ancestry.
The decorative and intricate arched windows echo those of medieval churches and much of the decoration on the exterior of the building recalls the medieval period with its display of gargoyles and grotesques, window surrounds and heraldry.
An example of a rare ‘Calendar House,’ Adare Manor is still adorned with 365 leaded windows, 52 ornate chimneys, 7 stone pillars and 4 towers to mark the annual tally of days, weeks and seasons.
This latest transformation, spearheaded by acclaimed architects ReardonSmith, involved internal finishes, furniture and woodwork, and the repairing of external stonework and windows.
Honouring the building’s architectural heritage as a Neo-Gothic masterpiece, the new Adare Manor embodies the hotel’s signature style, while incorporating the contemporary luxuries and technological conveniences necessary to meet the needs of today’s luxury traveller.
Adare Manor has a variety of food and drink offerings for guests including the fine dining Oak Room restaurant, with its lovingly restored oak panelling, the Tack Room, a beautiful piano bar, the Drawing Room, which overlooks the formal gardens, the Carriage House, a David Collins Studio designed grill room catering mainly for golfers and the magnificent Gallery, inspired by the great Hall of Mirrors in Versailles.
The hotel features 104 guestrooms, including the existing 62 bedrooms in the Manor House and River Wing, and the brand new 42 bedroom West Wing.
From the 43 square metre Classic Rooms to the massive Signature Suites that exceed 100 square metres, every room is worthy of the Dunravens’ grand legacy of beauty and luxury.
Individually designed, beautifully furnished and full of personal design touches and carefully considered details, the guest rooms offer the perfect retreat.
The landscape design, led by ReardonSmith Landscape, was developed with a detailed understanding of the historical estate and its heritage assets.
The meaning of the Gaelic word Adare is ‘ford of the oak,’ which forms the inspiration for key design elements throughout the grounds, including the new estate entrance where mature oak trees have been planted, flanking the new gatehouse and the arrival driveway.
This connects the guest arrival experience with the adjacent river and views of the adjacent ruins of Desmond Castle and Adare Franciscan Friary.
The estate encompasses many heritage assets, monuments and protected archaeological structures within its parkland and woodlands, including the columbarium (dove cote), the historic rent house, a hunting lodge and a lantern lodge and many historic gates.
Throughout the estate there are 177 mature arboretum trees, 2,675 woodland trees, approximately 100,000 shrubs and plants, 55 acres of parkland meadows and over 500 pieces of topiary.
One of the most unique are The Ogham Stones, whose stone monuments display an early Irish written language (Ogham Alphabet) dating back to the fourth and sixth centuries.
In addition to the above the riverside demesne is home to a splendid ballroom, an exquisite spa and a Tom Fazio-designed championship golf course so whilst Adare Manor is situated amongst some of Europe’s most beautiful countryside, guest are unlikely to roam far from the estate.
Photography: Jack Hardy