A small but select group travelled to Adare on 31st May to take a closer look at the famed historic village in County Limerick. Starting with some sustenance in the form of coffee and scones at the village’s Heritage Centre, our group set off on a village walk in brilliant sunshine, led by Pat Naughton from Ballincollig, himself an Adareman by birth. All remarked on the bustling activity of the place, as busloads of tourists from many countries thronged the Centre.
The 13th century Trinitarian Abbey was the first site visited. This Catholic church has a long history, involving centuries of worship, attacks by English forces, a massacre of monks in 1539, reduction to ruins in the dissolution of the monasteries, and eventual restoration in the 1800s as a place of prayer. Many of the building’s original stone features continue to impress some 800 years later. Pat talked about the huge contribution the Earls of Dunraven have made to the development of the village over the past 200 years, including restoring the churches, planning the village’s streets and providing employment through the years. Their original seat, Adare Manor, is now a high-prestige hotel and golf resort.
The terraces of thatched cottages remain the iconic image of Adare that most people recognise. Pat talked of their history (built in 1826) but lamented that almost all are now commercial premises rather than family dwellings. Along the street, we viewed the attractive town park, the washing pool, the courthouse and interesting shopfronts. Our attention was drawn to the plaque outside the Garda station commemorating Garda Jerry McCabe, killed on the village street in 1996. Further on our walk we saw the old blacksmith’s forge, the former RIC barracks, and the former Christian Brothers’ primary school from 1830. Last point of interest was the plaque in memory of Seán Ó Riada, who grew up in Adare in the 1930s and ‘40s.
It was time for lunch and we ate and were satisfied – Adare has plenty choices for those with an appetite! Our final visit was to the Augustinian Abbey (Church of Ireland) dating from the early 1300s, where we were treated to a most interesting tour of the buildings by local man John Bradley. For most of us the day was rounded off by a short riverbank walk by the River Maigue, while a few lingered to explore some of the village’s varied shops.
I expect most who were there will return before too long to savour some more of this unique village’s attractions and charms. All in all, a most enjoyable day in Adare.
With thanks to Elizabeth O’Connell for the photographs.