Adare Heritage Centre and Desmond Castle Tour

Adare Heritage Centre and Desmond Castle Tour

Adare, Co. Limerick


Smack in the middle of a busy tourist hub Adare, renowned as Ireland's prettiest village because of its lovely cottages and churches, is the Adare Heritage Centre. It is an informative place to map out your visit.

The Heritage Centre exhibition tells the history of Adare, beginning with the Norman invasion. Learn the story of Adare village of 1500AD by viewing the village model while listening to an audio tour, a refreshing alternative to a film presentation. It is a unique experience because you can visualize all the historical events why adopting a bird's eye view of the village and surrounding lands, leaving more for your own imagination. Go further back and walk through the fine display, depicting the history of the Trinitarian monastery, known as White Abbey due to the color of the monks' white robes, that was built in 1230AD. This abbey also housed a hospital and herb garden where the monks grew medicines. Learn about the lives of the Augustinian Friary monks who wore black robes, giving the friary the nickname of the Black Abbey.

The most fun part of our visit was loading a bus to go to Desmond Castle, about five minutes away. The Normans, who brought stone castles to Ireland and built over 200 castles in the area, built it. From the castle, I can see the St. Nicholas Church, now in ruin, and the Franciscan Friary ruins, the third abbey in Adare. Franciscan monks distinguished themselves by taking a vow of poverty.

The castle is impressive. I marvel at the lengths the Earl went to protecting himself and his family. With multiple moats, tiny windows, and thick walls, the place was truly a fortress. With the advent of gunpowder and cannons, though, castles went out of fashion. Oliver Cromwell dismantled the tower in the 17th century. Today, the castle is in the process of being tidied up and made safer by the city.

How to get there

By car:

From Limerick, take N20 south to Adare.

From Tralee, take N21 north to Adare.

By bus:

See website for all current travel details and restrictions.

Opening times

All Year Daily: 09.00-18.00

Historical Exhibition:
Mar-Jun: Daily: 09.00-17.00
Jul-Sept: Daily: 09.00-17.30
Oct-Dec: Mon-Fri: 09.00-17.00
Sat-Sun: 09.30-17.30
Jan-Feb: Mon-Fri: 10.00-16.00
Sat-Sun: 10.00-17.00

Castle: June to September, open daily, tours on the hour departing from the Heritage Centre.

Admission fee


Adult 5 euro

Adult Group (15 or more) 4.50 euro

Senior (65 yr +) 3.50 euro

Senior Group (15 or more) 3 euro

Student/Child (10 yr +) 3.5 euro

Group Student/Child (15 or more) 3 euro

Family 15 euro


Castle Tour:
Adult 6 euro

Senior (65 yr +) 5 euro

Combined rate 8 euro

Student/Child (10yr +) 5 euro

Combined rate 8 euro

Family 15 euro

Combined 20 euro

Group (15 or more) 4.5 euro


Adare Heritage Centre

Main Street


Co. Limerick


Tel: (0)61 396 666




Written by Liz O' Malley - Summer of Travel 2007

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