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Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort

A legendary house erected during the Great Irish Famine


By Wayne & Judy Bayliff
Created: August 28, 2011 Last Updated: August 28, 2011
Related articles: Life » Travel
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REGAL HOUSING: Adare Manor had an air of royalty about it. During its construction, the Dunraven family, the future residents, hired many people in order to help them through the Irish potato famine. (Judy Bayliff)

REGAL HOUSING: Adare Manor had an air of royalty about it. During its construction, the Dunraven family, the future residents, hired many people in order to help them through the Irish potato famine. (Judy Bayliff)

There are places in the world, where “extraordinary” is a totally inadequate description. Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort is just such a place.

The Adare Manor House is impressive by any standard. Originally designed as a residence for the second Earl of Dunraven, the current neo-Gothic structure on a lush 840-acre parcel of land was still in the process of redesign when the earl passed away in 1850. Completed by the earl’s son, the manor was also enhaanced with a magnificent garden. The beautiful terraced garden precedes the house as you approach from the west.

Designed in perfect axial symmetry in formal French style, the garden has paths that were laid wide to accommodate the capacious dresses of the period, and the terraced steps were made aptly low to suit a lady’s stride.

As if the stunning garden was not enough, the dreamy Maigue River, complete with white swans and rising trout, runs silently along one side of the house.

The manor’s inspired, 230-acre Robert Trent Jones Sr. golf course lies just east of the house. There is a densely branched Cedar of Lebanon tree, planted circa 1645, sheltering a small bridge that crosses the tranquil river and connects the main house to the golf course.

Benevolence During Building

Much of the construction of Adare Manor took place during the dark days of the Great Irish Famine (1845–1849). Over one million people tragically perished from starvation during the crippling potato blight.

At the time, the Dunraven family employed scores of additional laborers at Adare Manor and saved them and their families from the misery of the famine.

Entering the Manor House

The front door of Adare Manor resembles that of a castle as much as a manor house. To enter is to take a step across the threshold of time to an age when personal luxury was a given, and attention to detail was the maxim.

“Registration” is a single antique desk located near a massive ornate fireplace. The concierge desk sits on the opposite side of the glowing hearth. The receptionist was welcoming, impeccably attired, and well-schooled in the art of hospitality.

PEACEFUL REPOSE: Adare Manor has a spacious and well-appointed sitting room with great attention to restful detail. (Judy Bayliff)

PEACEFUL REPOSE: Adare Manor has a spacious and well-appointed sitting room with great attention to restful detail. (Judy Bayliff)

The Great Hall yields a calming sense of space with generous proportions open to a high ceiling. Streaming natural light emanates from towering windows. There is a peculiar gargoyle with an unusual countenance watching over all that takes place in the room from the north wall. He appears to be oddly amused.

In addition to the grand welcoming room, the manor has a spacious sitting room, elaborate library, several unique and excellent dining rooms, and a superb lounge that remains open to the wee hours.

We completed a tour led by the manor’s marketing executive, Sarah Stuart Trainor, by viewing and photographing unoccupied rooms and suites in the main structure before retiring to our stateroom for a jet-lag-inspired nap.

There are 62 guestrooms and suites in the main house.

Our huge sleeping room overlooked the Maigue, which is one of Ireland’s most famous fly-fishing rivers.

The bathroom was almost as large as the sleeping room. It had floor-to-ceiling windows that provided a panorama of the garden below from a vantage point of an old-style, claw-foot bathtub.

It was hard to pull ourselves out of our personal sanctuary and its wonderfully inviting bed and antique furnishings to visit the charming little medieval town of Adare.





   

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