ADVENTURE OF THE MONTH MARCH, 2004
Adarea small town southwest of Limerick city in Central Irelandis cleverly
enough disguised not to be an embarrassing clichι. The town is a perennial finalist in
the Irish "Tidy Towns" competition, and its fame as a showpiece has spread far
and wide. In fairness, its conception resulted more from the self-delusion of the
towns own landed gentry than a scheme to commit liposuction on visitors
wallets. Still, the town seems blissfully schizophrenic: perfectly comfortable going about
its business while busloads of shutterbugs descend on its Main Street every day.
Adare begins its slight-of-hand by appearing to be largely medieval. Driving into Adare from Limerick you must pass by a 15th century Franciscan Friary, and the substantial ruins of the 13th century Norman Desmond Castle, before crossing the 14th century road bridge over the River Maigue and entering the town. Adare boasts (a honest use of the verb) no fewer than 3 ancient church buildings including an Augustinian Priory (14th century), and the only Irish example of Trinitarian monastery (14th century), these now being (respectively) the towns Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.
All of these ruined or remodeled structures are window dressing for Adares real drawing card: its row of pretty-as-a-roll-of-film thatched cottages that line Main Street just as one drives into town. And they are pretty. The pastel painted cottages each carry heavy, drooping, ornamental thatches that seem more like blankets than the neatly trimmed utilitarian thatches one still can see on some Irish cottages. No, these are Snow White thatches so perfect that one expects the Seven Dwarves to be tenants here, dressed as leprechauns, of course.
DO ADARE'S PRICEY
Home at Firsts Central Ireland cottages are a short day trip away