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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