I’VE ARRIVED at Adare Manor Hotel, a resplendent country estate, located a 30-minute drive from Shannon Airport in the west of Ireland. Despite its turreted fairy-tale castle exterior, once inside it feels like an intimate private dwelling with plenty of comfy seating, the welcoming sound of a crackling log fire and a crystal chandelier hanging overhead. The check-in desk is barely visible.
The original main building of Adare Manor, which lies adjacent to the picturesque Adare village, was erected as a calendar residence in the 1830s with its 365 leaded windows, 52 chimneys, seven pillars and four towers. The property was home to 10 generations of the Quin family, until its sale in the 1980s when it was reinvented as a hotel.
Exterior of Adare Manor
After a change of ownership, the property reopened in early November 2017 following a ground-breaking transformation by its present owners, which saw modernised interiors retaining their former heritage and a new west wing. This sumptuous development created a total of 104 guest rooms and suites, each furnished in a Georgian style, with original oil paintings, custom-made beds, velvet drapes, and lashings of marble in the expansive bathrooms.
Many of the rooms guarantee bird’s eye views of the River Maigue and across 840 manicured acres of grounds, including the 18-hole Parkland golf course, designed by Tom Fazio and scheduled host to the 2027 Ryder Cup.
The Carriage House Terrace
On my first morning I venture outside for the Gun Dog Experience, where the delightful Willie Forde demonstrates how to handle highly trained game-retrieving Labradors. Afterwards, I head over to a falconry display, where I get up-close with a host of birds of prey from around the world.
In the afternoon, with a steamy Irish coffee in hand, I embark on a 45-minute horse and carriage ride through the grounds, passing the Padel Club, the newly built wellness, fitness and holistic centre that has two indoor Padel courts, a 17m swimming pool and steam room, a yoga and barre studio, and a sports simulation room.
Deluxe King Bedroom
Back at the manor house, I unwind in the confines of the only 111SKIN/Spa in Ireland. I select a therapeutic facial from the lengthy treatment menu, which utilises exclusive formulas from the 111SKIN brand that leave me glowing with an instantaneous dewy complexion.
Then, it’s over to the cosy speakeasy-style Tack Room Bar where my whiskey-tasting experience commences, led by the hugely respected Resort Beverages manager Aodhan O’Farrell. It’s also home to the Adare Manor whiskey collection, which includes more than 100 rare quality bottles sourced from the best producers internationally.
Pool at Adare Manor
The oak-panelled family dining room is now home to the hotel’s Michelin starred restaurant, The Oak Room, under the direction of Michael Tweedie and his team. Its seven-course tasting menu features amuse-bouches and paired wines, with most of the produce sourced from the four corners of Ireland.
It’s at The Carriage House, with its theatrical open kitchen and oversized marble tables, where I spend the evening. Its casual Americanesque menu includes a vast selection of meats, fish and super-food salads with impressive vegetarian/ vegan choices. The Bar is definitely the social hub of the estate, offering a range of fine wines and cocktails with fireside seating. Probably my favourite spot after an unforgettable day.
by Amanda Bernstein
Adare Manor, Adare, Co. Limerick, V94 W8WR, Ireland
Rates: Rooms start from €550/£480 (B&B x2 adults sharing) adaremanor.com