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Some suggestions on what to see, do and enjoy if you're staying in Adare. There are several interesting places within short distance of Adare, but be prepared for some long days in the car if you wish to visit popular destinations like the Cliffs of Moher, and Killarney and Dingle.
Please check opening times, as some of these sites are only open in tourist season (April-October).
Please note that drive-times are only estimates based on information from the aa routeplanner. There are no motorways in this area and you will be travelling along rural roads where there may be delays caused by slow moving traffic.
This list was compiled in response to an enquiry from "greygooselts", but I hope many of you visiting Adare will find it useful.
Spend a day exploring this bustling city built on the banks of the river Shannon. Visit King John's Castle and the Hunt Museum to satisfy your historic leanings, then enjoy the shops and restaurants and take a stroll along the riverside.
For rugby fans, a visit to Thomond Park (guided tour available) would be a real treat:
Adare-Limerick: 20km, approx. 20-25 minutes, depending on traffic.
Make the short journey from Adare to Foynes on the coast overlooking the Shannon Estuary. Here you will find Foynes Flying Boat Museum.
Adare-Foynes: 34km, approx. 35-40 minutes.
Approximately 30km west of Foynes, outside the village of Ballylongford lies the tower house of Carrigafoyle Castle on the shores of the Shannon Estuary.
Built over 500 years ago by a local Chieftain, this Castle has seen plenty of action through the ages.
Spend half a day at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, where you will discover not only a magnificent example of an Irish Castle, but also the Folk Park which contains a collection of buildings from around the country, including amongst many others: a cottage "rescued" when Shannon airport was built, Bunratty House - a gentleman's dwelling; Ardcroney Church (rebuilt stone by stone); and a mill.
Adare-Bunratty: 35km; approx. 35-45 minutes depending on traffic in/around Limerick.
Drive across to Killaloe : a pretty village at the southern tip of Lough Derg. You can take a cruise on the Lough and stop off in Killaloe to view St Flannan's Cathedral and drop into the Wooden Spoon for delicious home-cooked food.
Adare - Killaloe : 44km, approx. 40-45 minutes
Lough Gur lies just 20km south of Limerick city, but seems a world away from our modern bustling lives.
There is evidence of man's inhabitation of Ireland dating back over 5,500 years at Lough Gur. Amongst many things, you will be able to see a megalithic tomb from the Stone Age, a stone circle from the Bronze Age, stone forts from the Iron Age, and a Medieval Castle.
There's a visitor centre with parking next to the lake - it offers a very limited selection of refreshments: hot drinks, crisps, chocolate bars. If it's a nice day, bring a picnic with you and enjoy by the lakeside.
Highly recommended for anyone interested in Ireland's history and heritage.
Adare-Lough Gur: 41km, approx. 45 minutes.
If your visit to Ireland coincides with either of these events, you might like to drive to the pretty town of Listowel and enjoy a day at the races, or participate in celebrating all things literary.
Listowel race meets for 2013:
2nd - 3rd June
15th - 21st September
Listowel Writers Week:
29th May - 2nd June.
Adare-Listowel: 62km, approx. 1hr, 15 minutes
For railway fans, this is something a little different: a restored monorail that once ran from Listowel to Ballybunion.
Nowadays, only a short length of track remains in operation: approx. 1000m, and a short journey can be enjoyed on board the little train.
Definitely one for a train/railway fan!
This impressive ruined cathedral lies approximately 10km north-west of Tralee, and could be visited in conjunction with Listowel and/or Foynes/Carrigafoyle.
30km, approx. 50 minutes cross-country route (via Lixnaw and Abbeydorney)
36km, approx 40minutes on N69 to Tralee, then R551 to Ardfert.
Cahir is a pretty little town on the River Suir. It boasts a very impresive medieval Castle and a cottage ornee: the Swiss Cottage.
Mitchelstown Cave lies 15km south-west of Cahir.
A good option for families.
Adare-Cahir: 77km, approx 1hr, 20 minutes.
There is so much to see and do in and around Killarney that you might be tempted to visit twice!
Popular places to see:
Muckross House and Gardens
This is a very fine example of a country house, with exquisite gardens to explore. House can only be viewed by guided tour. There is also a pleasant walk through the gardens and past the lake to Torc Waterfall.
Gap of Dunloe
Stunningly beautiful, the Gap is best viewed on foot, or by horse 'n carriage. Parking is available at Kate Kearney's Cottage, where you will find bar, restaurant and shop.
Spend a couple of hours wandering around the Town; it has a good selection of souvenir shops, plus restaurants, cafes and pubs.
A fine example of a medieval castle. The castle can only be visited by guided tour, which is limited to 15 people, and lasts approx. 40 minutes. Very popular destination; expect to queue in high season.
Directions: from Killarney take the N71 in the direction of Kenmare. The castle lies a short distance from the city centre. Look for signs and a right-hand turn.
Adare-Killarney: 93km, approx. 1.5hrs each way
Take the N21 to Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre, which should appeal to all age groups. On the way back, stop off at Crag Cave, near Castleisland (signposted off N21)
Adare - Tralee : 83km, approx. 1.5hrs.
Take a full day out to visit the Cliffs of Moher and explore some of the highlights of the Burren region: a fascinating limestone landscape scattered with sites dating from Prehistory.
Click on the above link to see details of my favourite places in the Burren.
Adare-Cliffs of Moher: 102km, min 1hr 40 minutes
Drive via the pretty villages of Ballina and Killaloe which sit either side of the River Shannon at the southern end of Lough Derg, and through Tumagraney and Scarriff to the village of Mountshannon, where you can take a boat across to Holy Island.
This tiny island has a round tower and the remains of several early Christian churches. Burials still take place on the Island.
Adare-Mountshannon: 70km, approx. 1.5hrs.
Drive south to Cork and explore this vibrant City before driving out to Blarney Castle.
Click on the link for ideas for your visit.
Adare-Cork: 92km, approx. 1.5hrs
Be prepared for a long day in the car if you wish to visit Galway city; it has a compact centre which can easily be explored on foot in half a day. There are several paid parking areas in the city centre; don't forget to bring change for the car park!
Your route will take you through the town of Gort; on the outskirts of Gort lies Coole Park, where you will find the Autograph Tree which is carved with the initials of some of the greatest Irish authors: Yeats, Synge, O'Casey, Shaw.
There is a lovely walk through the woods down to the lough made famous in W B Yeats' poem: The Wild Swans at Coole.
Adare-Galway: 120km, min 1hr, 45minutes.
Take a boat ride from Kilrush, co. Clare to see bottlenose dolphins in the Shannon Estuary. Boat trip takes around 2hrs, and depending on time of year, there are 2-3 departures daily. Full details on link.
Adare-Kilrush: 97km, approx. 1.5hrs each way, travelling via Shannon Ferries from Tarbert, co. Kerry across the Shannon to Killimer, co. Clare; full details of the drive-on ferry service:
Recommendation: allow min 2hrs to reach Kilrush in case of delay at ferry crossing.
Many folk look on the map, and think "Oh: Adare's close to Dingle; I'll just pop down for the day."
Well, plan for a very long day out if you wish to see the beauty of the Dingle Peninsula. Dingle town is 2-2.5hrs drive from Adare, and has many quality shops selling items designed and crafted on the Peninsula: crystal, clothing; ceramics, jewellery leather goods.
However, if you wish to see the beautiful coastal scenery for which Dingle is renowned, head west to take in the breathtaking views along the Slea Head Drive; allow approx. 3hrs for Slea Head drive.
For a treat, pop into Murphy's Ice-cream parlour in Dingle Town.
To make the most of this area, it would be well worth spending a night on the Peninsula, which would give you time to visit the Blasket Islands, take a hike along the Dingle Way, go horse-riding, or take a boat trip to see Fungi the dolphin.
Adare-Dingle Town: 135km, approx. 2-2.5hrs.