When I think of the night we spent at Adare Manor near Limerick, Ireland this summer, the word “special” keeps coming to mind. It was special that my boys, ages 2 and 5, got to sleep in a castle. It was special for my husband and me to admire the unique architecture and indulge in 5-star luxury. It was special for all of us to wander the immaculate gardens and participate in a falconry course. Everything about Adare Manor is extraordinary, and it’s well worth incorporating into your family’s Ireland itinerary.
In anticipation of our stay, I read up on Adare. It seemed so luxurious and fancy that I feared my rambunctious kids would be a bit much for the serene environment. Instead, we felt at home the moment we arrived, the vaulted ceilings of the impressive lobby countered by the warm and friendly greeting we received.
And we were far from the only families staying there. We saw plenty of kids throughout the hotel and the grounds. Adare truly welcomes families with kids of all ages, and accommodates them in many ways. Yet you’ll never feel like you’ve been dropped in a daycare. Adare is every bit as stately and impressive as its reputation suggests.
When I walked into our room at Adare, I was speechless. Our ceilings were at least 20 feet high. The furniture and décor was very much in keeping with the historic property, without feeling like an antique store. Our room was spacious, with plenty of room for my kids to spread out a few card games and coloring books.
And while I marveled at the gorgeous fireplace in our room, when I stepped into the bathroom and discovered another fireplace there, I felt like quite the princess.
But if a stay in the manor itself is a bit out of budget, consider exploring the self-catering villas and townhouses. Just a 5-10 minute walk away, you’d still have use of Adare’s many services and amenities.
One of the challenges that historic European properties face is the desire to offer all the modern conveniences and amenities that travelers have come to expect, but in buildings that were never designed for those activities. Somehow Adare marries all one would hope for when staying at a property like this: gorgeous pool, spa facility, gym, even a world-famous golf course, without compromising the charm of its structure.
Dining options are plentiful also. Breakfast is served daily in the beautiful oak dining room. You can join in the afternoon tea service (a special kids menu is offered), or be seated for dinner at an earlier hour (children are welcome before 7:30 p.m.) in a more formal setting. We chose to have dinner at the golf clubhouse, where there is no dress code and the atmosphere is quite casual.
After the kids were soundly sleeping in their beds, my husband escaped for an evening in the Tack Room, a pub in Adare’s basement, where live Irish music was playing and guests could enjoy cocktails without worrying about navigating narrow Irish roads on their return. Adare will also happily arrange for a babysitter should both parents want to enjoy an evening out.
The grounds are truly stunning and a highlight of a stay here. The gardens will have you pretending you are starring in your own personal Jane Austen novel, yet there are still many open grassy areas for kids to run free and play (in fact, my boys were very tempted to join a soccer match in full swing on our walk back from dinner). The river that flows through (just steps from the manor) is stocked seasonally with salmon or trout.
Something that separates Adare from many other resorts is the opportunity for a once in a lifetime experience during your stay. For example, staff can arrange a hot air balloon ride, a falconry course, wine tastings, and more. They’re currently redeveloping a fairy trail that runs around the property, which was damaged in recent storms. Basically, if there’s something you’ve dreamed of doing while in Ireland, they can probably make it happen.
My family was treated to an introductory falconry experience during our stay. At first, my children were a bit skeptical and fearful. Within minutes, my oldest was proudly holding his arm out for the various owls to hop on. We all learned a great deal about these beautiful birds, and they are still talking about the experience in great detail.
Adare’s convenient location is just about a 30 minute drive from the Shannon airport (which offers many flights direct from the U.S. and Europe). We drove to the impressive Cliffs of Moher from Adare, only about a 90 minute drive away. And Adare is just 10 miles outside of Limerick, Ireland’s third largest city, should you crave big city cultural offerings.
For many travelers, a trip to Ireland is a long-held dream, maybe to better appreciate family history or just to breathe in the scenery often admired in films or in photos. A stay at Adare is worthy of the bucket list desire that many have for it. Happily, this is one luxurious travel fantasy where the kids can come along.
Read our family-friendly review of Adare Manor in the CB! Hotel Collection. When you use our Check Availability button to check pricing, one of our Family Vacation Consultants will follow up to ensure all of your needs are met. Pricing is the same as if you go direct — with the added benefit of our expertise!
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Editor’s Note: Nicole was given complimentary accommodations at Adare Manor. As always, our opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Nicole Wiltrout.
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