The Prettiest Town in IrelandPosted by in Travel
My celebration of Patrick’s Day continues with a week-long series of posts. Adare, in County Limerick, is said to be the prettiest town in Ireland. Given this moniker, we couldn’t resist a visit. We fit it into our itinerary after our stay near the Ring of Kerry and on our way to Dromoland Castle. Adare felt more like a small city than a town. We visited many towns in Ireland that truly felt like towns with very narrow streets, tiny shops all tucked together, and a feeling that they were home to locals first and a tourist attraction second.
Adare’s claim to fame is its thatched roof homes. Everything I read used the plural for “homes.” I pictured a tiny little village with quaint little homes with thatched roofs, little traffic, and a cozy feeling. Adare didn’t fit my fantasy.
The center of town is a very busy street with numerous intersection and lots of traffic. It’s a wide street, not narrow and cute. The town has very plain looking buildings with businesses at street level. Most of the buildings are not shops that would interest tourists and none were very welcoming looking. Just as you pull through the town, there is a small park on one side and a row of about 3 thatched buildings all together. If you pull into the park, there is a huge parking lot and a visitor’s center. The visitor’s center has absolutely nothing worth buying and is useful simply for its restrooms, to be frank.
We parked and walked across the street to the thatched buildings. They are quite cute, with a little gate in front and some have beautiful little gardens in front of them. We stopped and had lunch at The Blue Door, inside one of the buildings. It was fun to dine inside one of the buildings. Our lunch was nice – not stupendous, but very good. We enjoyed fettucine with smoked and fresh salmon, a burger on a gluten free bun, and a chicken caesar salad. The interior was quite quaint and we enjoyed ourselves.
We took our time to look at the thatched houses. There was a handful of shops amongst them. Inside an antique shop we discovered some dusty stacks of paintings and I came away with a small print of Blarney Castle, already framed and a quite lovely watercolor that seemed to me that it could have been of the Ring of Kerry area. There were no shops elsewhere in town to visit, other than those in the thatched buildings. We drove around a bit, hoping to stumble on something else but there just was nothing else in the area. There is an old church next to the visitor’s center which didn’t excite us.
If you’re driving in the general area of Adare, it’s worth a quick stop, but don’t plan to spend a lot of time there and don’t detour far out of your way. The prettiest town in Ireland? Well, no. It’s cute for sure. My vote for the prettiest town in Ireland might go to Kilkenny or any of the towns on the Ring of Kerry.
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My thought when we stayed overnight in Adare (historic hotel that was once a stage stop –across the street from the thatched roof houses) was that it was the prettiest BLOCK in Ireland. They have a very nice visitors center with a great gift shop, which you seemed to have missed. And some interesting ancient buildings. I think nowadays the biggest attraction is the huge hotel and golf course complex.
I agree it is a pretty block – at least one side of it. The visitor’s center is not great to look at nor is its parking lot and the gift shop was nothing great in my opinion either. Tshirts, mugs and plastic shamrocks. It was also quite small – 3 little nooks really.
What a special place this looks like. I haven’t been to Ireland and hope to get there soon!
This trip must have been amazing, Brette!
It really was. And there’s so much more I haven’t written about yet.
no disrespect to Adare, but I’ve been to many places in Ireland which would give it a fine run for its money as prettiest town – and palce where the thacted roof buildings are more intergrated inot daay to day life, too.
It is interesting that it has developed such a reputation – someone spent a lot on PR I suspect.
I’d be hard pressed to come up with the prettiest town in Ireland, there were so many.But this one does look very cute.