THE south west of Ireland plays host to an array of breathtaking and historically rich stately homes and castles. Among these are the picturesque settings of Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort and Dromoland Castle Hotel & Country Estate.
Both resorts are steeped in Irish history, with Adare Manor built to its current style in the 1830s and Dromoland Castle dating all the way back to the 16th century.
Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort
Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort is located in the lush heartlands of County Limerick, on the edge of the historical village of Adare itself. The fairytale manor is set in a storybook 840-acre estate, filled with medieval ruins, breathtaking gardens, riverside views and an 18-hole championship golf course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior.
Adare Manor, was rebuilt from a typical Georgian House in the 1830’s by the second Earl of Dunraven. The Lord enrolled James Pain as his architect of choice to aid him in creating the exceptional Neo-Gothic Manor that guests marvel at today. The Dunraven’s remained in Adare Manor until 1982 and in 1987 it was purchased by the Kane family and opened to the public as the charming resort that we see today.
As you enter the grounds, you cannot escape the scenic views and impeccably kept gardens designed in a formal French style by Hardwick. The Manor house itself exudes Old World romance, with commanding ivy flanking its front walls. As you enter the great hall, you are struck by the rich Irish oak panelling and exquisite chandeliers as well as a welcoming fire that constantly blazes in the ornate fireplace. No two bedrooms in the manor house are the same, each boasting its own unique design and charm. Arched ceilings, windows with enviable views and boudoir-style seating ensure the highest level of luxury and comfort while relaxing in your down time.
Large groups, or those looking for more of an independent stay, may enjoy one of the 46 three and four bedroom villas that can be found on the grounds. Each is spacious and decorated to the highest standard, and is stocked with all the amenities needed for a busy family household. For the golfing enthusiast, there are also 25 townhouses immediately adjacent to the golf clubhouse.
Dining in the manor house is to be highly recommended with the award winning Oak Room restaurant overlooking the river. The accompanying colonnade is lit only by candlelight and it is advised to book in advance to secure a much-coveted position in this romantic setting. The extensive menu brings an Irish contemporary mix to much-loved classic dishes and the cellar boasts over 300 wines at any given time. It has recently won Best Hotel Restaurant in Limerick and Best Chef in Limerick from The Restaurant Association of Ireland. Afternoon tea is also a treat not to be missed in the plush Drawing Room. The Minstrel’s Gallery is an ideal venue for a wedding celebration as well as a host of other events. Running 132ft from east to west, with signature stained glass panels, it can accommodate up to 200 people.
There is also much to enjoy outside the manor house itself, with the championship golf course covering 230 acres. While being a choice for the most experienced golfers, having hosted the Irish Open, leisurely golfers are also accommodated for with each hole sporting four tee positions. The clubhouse, known today as the Carriage House, contains changing rooms, 10 en-suite bedrooms, a lively bar and dining room. There is a steam room, a fitness room and a heated swimming pool within the manor house. The Lavender Cottage has recently been opened on the grounds, which provides an array of treatments in a relaxed and serene setting.
Tel: 00353 61 396566
Dromoland Castle Hotel and Country Estate
Dromoland Castle Hotel & Country Estate is located near Newmarket on Fergus in County Clare. The castle was once the ancestral home of the O’Briens, one of the few native Gaelic families of royal blood and direct descendant of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland in the 11th century. It was transformed in 1962 and opened as the luxurious hotel we see today. On approach to the 410-acre grounds of the Dromoland estate, you are met by lush countryside and rolling forests.
As you round the corner and witness the castle rise before you, you are affirmed of its reputation of as one of the most distinguished and impressive castles in Ireland. Its renaissance structure is complemented by impeccably kept gardens and surrounds.
The entrance hall is true to its medieval origins with suits of gilded armour and authentic artwork greeting you on arrival. All 85 guest rooms and 13 deluxe staterooms were individually designed and decorated by Carole Roberts. Each room boasts antique furnishings, custom drapes and carpeting and damask wall coverings.
The Michelin star Earl of Thomond restaurant is internationally renowned and offers a relaxed but elegant dining experience. Chef David McCann offers a mix of traditional Irish signature dishes and the finest in French Provençale cuisine using fresh locally sourced produce. The impressive chandeliers and Old World charm make for a culinary experience like no other.
There are also lighter dining options, as well as the renowned Mrs White’s afternoon tea, available in the Drawing Room, Main Gallery and Cocktail Bar. The Brian Boru hall is a breathtaking setting for any wedding reception, conference or event. It can accommodate up to 300 guests and can be adapted for a wide variety of functions.
If relaxing in the comfort of the castle isn’t enough for some of the more active among you, the grounds of Dromoland offer an exclusive insight into country living with falconry, tennis, fishing, shooting and boating all catered for on site. The Spa at Dromoland is located inside the castle itself and offers a comprehensive list of treatments in a tranquil setting. There is also an outdoor hydro spa which is covered with a gazebo for all year round use. For the golf enthusiasts, the Championship Golf Course was designed by world renowned architect Ron Kirby and the late JB Carr. The course is ideal for both the professional and more leisurely golfer and there is also the unique golf academy practice facility for those looking to improve their swing.
The Dromoland School of Falconry offers a unique experience with its array of activities. These include hawk walks, owl evenings and falconry displays, which are all designed to give the guests an opportunity to interact with these stunning birds of prey. Expert falconer Dave Atkinson, along with his experienced team, will take you on a walk through the enchanting forests of Dromoland and give you an opportunity to witness the falcons in full flight. This is a thrilling encounter that would be highly recommended.
Dromoland Castle & Country Estate
Tel: 00353 61 368144