The brainchild of Augustus Pugin (who also designed the Palace of Westminster), Adare Manor in Co. Limerick is a neo-gothic masterpiece. Limerick man JP McManus (one of Ireland's richest individuals) acquired the chateau-like structure in 2014 and following a 21-month renovation - said to be the most extensive project of this nature undertaken in Ireland - the property has been tastefully zhuzhed up.
The Great Hall Reception with its vaulted ceiling, carved wood-panelled walls and black-marble fireplaces is decidedly grand yet delightfully welcoming. Indeed, arriving at Adare Manor fosters a sense of homecoming; Paul and PJ are the first people you meet when you step out of the car, thanks to on-the-ball staff radioing through your imminency.
A place that leaves you wanting for little - other than permanent residency, perhaps - following check-in, there are endless paths to explore, both literal and figurative. Woodland walks and meanders along the River Maigue aside, there's also the option to borrow a duck-egg blue Pashley bike and set off with a picnic in tow. Alternatively, guests can hit the golf course designed by architect Tom Fazio (pegged for the location of The Ryder Cup 2026) - though even idleness is a lustful activity here, thanks to a well-stocked library, cinema and subterranean whiskey bar.
A glance out of the window (having opened your iPad-controlled curtains) unveils the graceful French gardens, flowing River Maigue and a steady stream of golfers pitching in the distance. In the room, expect oversized four-poster beds, monogrammed slippers and a generously filled (and complimentary) minibar. From the freshly baked Irish barmbrack bread on arrival to touch-sensitive reading lights, no box is left un-ticked. If availability allows, ask for a room on the upper floors in the old building which are fitted with Georgian-inspired furniture, silk wallpapers and a marble en-suite bathroom completed by rainfall showers and double vanities.
Served in The Gallery, breakfast is a hybrid of buffet and a la carte. Help yourself to juice, cereals and pastries before turning your attention to a menu featuring porridge, waffles, avocado, eggs and pancakes. The room itself is also rather delicious thanks to high ceilings, a trellis-panelled roof and gargantuan tapestries hanging on either side of the long hall.
Hosted in the second longest room in Ireland - after Trinity College Long Room - the Gallery is used for afternoon tea, available from 12.30PM. Go for Adare's own blend (the 1832) to accompany your jam-laden currant scones.
How about lunch and dinner?
Five chefs and a dog travelled cross-country in a campervan to source the best of the Emerald Isle's produce and incorporate it into house menus. Head chef Mike Tweedie - a Devon-born man with a predilection for Connemara lamb and Atlantic lobster - heads up The Oak Room where diners can choose from a four- or six-course menu. Request a table in the enclosed terrazzo for an added side of romance.
If you're looking for something a little more straightforward, The Carriage House is a good casual dining option. Not void of ceremony, it serves simple meals - burgers, fish and chips, salads - and is a definitely more luxe than your average golf clubhouse. Designed with a punchy pragmatism in shades of prune and mauve met by jewel-toned textiles, it's open from 8AM and offers an ideal interlude between holes. Other options include the Library and the Drawing Room, which serve light bites until 5PM.
Is there a bar?
A drinking den you'll hope no one else discovers, the Tack Room is a snug spot in the basement level of the hotel with an impressive bar. Ceilings are low and barrel-vaulted making for an art-deco feel that sets it apart from the rest of the house. Peruse 100 rare whiskeys and the cigar room in the far corner.
Overlooking the formal gardens, The Drawing Room is an opulent affair that has been treated to a gold-leaf ceiling, cream upholstered walls and bespoke drapery adapted from an archived 18th-century textile. Needless to say, a cocktail here The Drawing Room evokes sophistication at any time. Choose from a menu of covetable concoctions curated by the house mixologist; features speciality liquors and sophisticated flavours, giving classic cocktails a fresh and subtle twist.
Within a short distance you'll find…
The golf course. Stretching in every direction across the estate, there are rumours that the owner is bidding for the Ryder Cup to be held here in 2026, while also is also vying for the title of best parkland course in Europe.
For those wishing to explore beyond Adare Manor, the village itself is particularly idyllic. Awash with a hotchpotch of thatched houses, it's delightfully twee; stumble upon craft stores, galleries and Desmond Castle before pausing in a cosy pub for a well-earned pint.
Things you should know…
The cinema screens films daily on a 140-inch screen. Evening screenings take place at 9.30PM and show a mix of classic and contemporary cinema - though if you're the only theatregoers you can select your own.
The spa, supplied with La Mer products and bespoke oils, makes for an extraordinary pampering experience. Seclusion is central to its operation, with guests rarely seeing one another; everything from the pre-treatment area to the relaxation room promotes solitary relaxation. Block out a good 45 minutes post-treatment to luxuriate in your surroundings.