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Adare

(4.4/5 based on 800+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: shopping, golf, religious sites
Adare is a village in County Limerick, Ireland. Renowned as one of Ireland's prettiest villages, Adare is designated as a heritage town by the Irish government. The district population in 2011 was 2,650.HistoryThe River Maigue is tidal as far as Adare, with the settlement forming around the eastern bank of the Maigue overlooking the fording point from which the village gets its name. An annalistic reference is made in the medieval Annals of Inisfallen at AI982.4 "The Tree of Mag Adar was broken by Leth Cuinn". Owing to the strategic importance of the river crossing the Desmond castle was built overlooking the site near Ardshanbally (derived from Ard an tSeanbhaile - 'high ground of the old town'), and was first mentioned in 1226. Historically a market town, in the Middle Ages, Adare boasted three monasteries. Owing to the influence of the Earls of Dunraven, who built the Adare Manor (now a luxury resort hotel) a strict plan was laid out for the town.Desmond CastleA castle or fortress is said to have first been built with an ancient ring-fort, by the O'Donovans, rulers of the region into the late 12th century, and afterwards to have passed into the possession of the Kildare branch of the FitzGerald dynasty, who may be responsible for the majority of the remains of the present fortress (which occurred with Croom Castle, also on the Maigue). Desmond Castle, as it is popularly known, stands on the north bank of the Maigue. An extensive renovation has been in progress on the castle since 1996 and supervised tours are offered in the summer months. This is one of a series of significant Desmond properties, which also include the banqueting hall in Newcastle West, another castle in Askeaton and Castle Matrix near Rathkeale, further west in County Limerick.
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