Adare, County Limerick, Republic of Ireland

With its thatched roofs, heavily restored churches, lush golf course, and bus loads of grey haired tourists, contemporary Adare seems more like a Disneyland for senior citizens than an Irish village. However, one of the benefits of going to a place that targets this particular demographic is that most of its attractions are fairly accessible (aside from the ruined Franciscan friary, chapel, and church located on the grounds of the Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort). The centrally-located Heritage Center includes a large parking lot, and quite a bit of helpful signage has been sprinkled around the town. The downside, as with most touristy spots, is that everything feels a bit over polished and unreal.

Unsurprisingly, Adare owes much of its current appearance to 19th century renovations. Undertaken by the Earls of Dunraven in the 1820s and ’30s, the village’s refurbishment included the over-restoration of the Trinitarian Priory (founded by the Fitzgeralds in 1230 and now a Catholic church and convent located next to the Heritage Center). Further down the main road on the outskirts of town is the “Black Abbey,” an Augustinian friary founded by the Fitzgeralds in 1316. Now an Anglican parish church and school, the Black Abbey sits across from the grounds of Adare Manor and near the 13th century Desmond Castle.

All photos by Renée DeVoe Mertz, May 27, 2013.

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