We’ve all grown up listening to a familiar story, Prince Charming comes along and rescues the lovely princess, they fall in love and their storybook wedding takes place in front of a majestic castle, and then of course they live “happily ever after”. Many children dream of this magical tale to become all their own and envision that fairy-tale wedding becoming a reality.
For most couples it is usually only a fantasy, but for others it can become a visualized reality that will live on in their memories forever. There is something very special about a destination wedding; a place where guests can live out your dreams with you. An escape from their daily reality, on an adventure to celebrate the beginning of two people starting their lives together. Whether it is a white sandy beach in the Caribbean or a majestic fairy-tale castle wedding in Europe, it is a day that will truly live on forever in the minds of you and your guests. If your dream wedding is one of fairy-tales and childhood dreams there is a place far, far away…
The Adare Manor in the county of Limerick, Ireland is a very special place that words and pictures can only do so much for. If you are looking for a romantic fairy-tale destination for your wedding then save yourself some time and book a flight to Ireland to give this beauty a shot, you won’t be sorry.
As you enter the gates the first impression is grand and hits you right away; a huge smile from the guard followed by a windy parkland drive towards the manor will surely take your breath away. As you enter the manor the first thing you pay notice to is the extreme amount of hospitality you experience. From the doormen to the concierge to each and every employee in between, the staff at Adare Manor goes well above your expectations to welcome you and make you feel right at home. If you have a bit of Irish in you (as most of us seem to) you will feel an even stronger connection with the location and local people. The Manor itself is extremely appealing to the senses and no matter how jetlagged you may feel you will feel alive with excitement and become anxious to explore. A walking tour of the grounds along with a pint of Guinness takes you back in time. Immerse yourself in the grounds and take in all it has to offer. It is hard to believe that just one hundred and seventy years before the Adare Manor was only a twinkle in the eye of the original owner, the second Earl of Dunraven.
Back in the early 1800’s the second Earl of Dunraven had been confined indoors due to a painful struggle with Gout. Because of his debilitating disease he needed to distract himself and decided to rebuild the family home which started the legacy of Adare manor. He used his vivid imagination and came up with a grandiose plan to build something that would add a big change to the region. He chose James Pain an architect who had flair like no other in the country of Ireland. The Manor was mysteriously laid out like a calendar home which included 365 stained glass windows to mark the days of the year and 52 chimneys to mark the weeks of the year. There are hidden references throughout the home that point to the 7 days of the week as well as the 12 months of the year so take a look around, if you have a keen eye you just may be able to discover them for yourself.
When the Earl passed away in 1850 his son returned home from Britain to complete his father’s work. The Manor was not yet complete and his son wanted to bring forth a new architect to add a fresh perspective. The 3rd Earl of Dunraven hired the services of Philip Charles Hardwick who spent a large amount of his focus designing the plush garden that ran along the riverbank and well into the surrounding parkland. In the early 1860’s the Manor was finally finished and generations of the Dunraven’s lived in royal harmony. The Manor was sold in 1987 to the Kane family of Florida who purchased all 840 acres in its entirety. A grand restoration took place in Dunraven tradition and the Manor today is one of the top castle and golf resorts in the world.
When it comes time to planning the wedding of your dreams look no further than Adare Manor, an undiscovered treasure that will fulfill all your dreams and more. Words cannot express what you will be feeling as you walk down the aisle on that glorious day with the lush flowers in full bloom all around you and the manor as the backdrop. The Manor’s garden is one of the most beautiful settings you will ever lay on eyes on and is absolutely perfect for an outside wedding. Picture an elegant horse drawn carriage, the driver in a top hat and tails where the bride is glamorously escorted to the ceremony; the icing on the cake for the ultimate fairy-tale wedding. Your guests will be awe struck as they look up to see the trotting horses gracefully pulling the carriage with the beautiful bride. If an indoor wedding is your preference the Oak Room restaurant can easily be transformed into a stunning setting with glorious views of the garden, golf course and the River Maigue. For a more intimate affair then the Manor’s library is another incredible location for an indoor wedding. Large pane glass windows provide a fantastic view of the formal gardens south of the house. With seven magnificent pane bay windows the library is an ideal spot to tie the knot.
The Minstrel’s Gallery is as glamorous as the mind can imagine for a wedding reception. The gallery runs 132 feet long and has breathtaking decorative style dating back to 1850 when the Manor was originally built. Grandiose chandeliers, stunning candelabras and wood carvings as detailed as the eye can see line the walls of the gallery. Up to 200 guests can be seated at round tables or a traditional setting of 90 at one long table can also be arranged. The banquet staff is highly trained, knowledgeable and know exactly what it takes to create wedding perfection. With award winning chefs and wine connoisseurs you are in the best of hands. For large parties, banquets and weddings the Minstrel’s Gallery is one of our favorite areas in the manor. The Minstrel’s gallery is the most powerful room in the Manor hands down. You and your guests will marvel in the intricate design throughout each and every inch of this majestic room.
While visiting Adare Manor one of the many things that will indeed stand out to you are the outstanding guestrooms. There is something very special about staying in a bedroom that holds an extensive amount of Irish history. Generations of the Dunraven family have lived in the Manor and if you listen closely you can hear the whispers of Lady Caroline taking care of her ill husband the Earl of Dunraven. Each room in the Manor is unique and individually designed with a luxurious royal feel. Lady Caroline the wife of the Earl of Dunraven had a very special knack for interior design and although the rooms have been restored many times over the original feel still exists and the attention to detail is highly noticeable.
Upon entering your room you will be in total awe with the meticulous design touches that instantly make you feel as if you are of royal blood. Original fireplaces, carved headboards, bright marble bathrooms with views of the meticulous grounds will blow your mind. If you are lucky enough to stay in none other than Lady Caroline’s room, the most sought after bedroom in the Manor you may not want to ever leave. The vast amount of history hidden within the walls is astounding and the views of the grounds are breathtaking, Adare truly is a magical place! The many windows give you a bird’s eye view of the estate and the attention to detail here is beyond the imagination. Intricate details in carvings and an eclectic mixture of design house many stories. Whichever room you decide to stay in at the Manor there is one thing for certain, you will not be disappointed. Even the basic staterooms have large marble bathrooms with stunning views and all the fixtures and design aesthetics to go along with it.
A very memorable part of your stay will be the dining experiences. Whether you are enjoying afternoon tea in the Drawing Room, having a casual lunch at the Carriage House Restaurant or a romantic dinner in the Oakroom your experience will be top notch. Internationally acclaimed for their fine dining experiences, Adare is under the close supervision of head chef Mark Donohue. Each dish is meticulously prepared for the guests delight and it is quite apparent. Chef Donohue uses fresh ingredients locally sourced from the surrounding area and puts his heart and soul into preparing each plate which is glaringly obvious to the palate. Donohue has a unique ability of bringing the best produce, freshest seafood and game meats to the table. The meal paired with one of the 300 wines from the Manor’s cellar will take the night to a whole new level.
Awake each morning with breakfast at the Oakroom’s adjoining colonnade while you gaze out the window at the River Maigue. Another focal point of the breakfast experience is to watch the golfers finish their round on the 18th hole as you enjoy your morning coffee; a true classic moment at the Adare Manor.
While staying at the Adare Manor it is especially memorable to partake in the activities that are unique to Ireland. From falconry, clay pigeon shooting, archery or fishing on the River Maigue each experience is one to remember. Take a hot air balloon ride across the 840 acre estate, get educated at a wine or whiskey tasting or take a stroll through the woodland walks to find the 12 miniature fairy sized play houses that are hidden amongst the trees. Don’t forget to book a spa treatment at the Lavender Cottage set in a historic building the spa offers a splendor of unique treatments to make your stay that much more relaxing.
If you play golf then you are in for a special treat! Voted the #1 Parkland Golf Course in Ireland 2006-2012 it goes to show that this Robert Trent Jones designed course is an absolute gem. The Adare Manor Golf Club has won many accolades and has been voted the best Golf Course in Ireland by many publications. There is something remarkable when teeing off on the first hole with the Desmond Castle (1200 AD) as a backdrop for your shot. The ruins of The Franciscan Abbey (1464 AD) are also a main focal point on the course which adds such a unique setting. Where else could you marvel over ruins of a historic castle while going for that birdie putt? Tree lined fairways, manicured greens and hidden challenges await golfers of all skill levels.