Augustinian Abbey at Adare

There is not, perhaps, in the whole province of Munster a more beautifully situated village than Adare, about eight miles from Limerick, the ruins of its magnificent castle, where the proud Desmonds held sway—the meadows, sloping gently to the margin of the stream—the ivy-mantled walls of the stately abbeys that once flourished here—the lonely shades—the venerable trees, and the quiet walks,

"Where heavenly meditation, musing, dwelt,"

awaken in the contemplative mind emotions of the most exquisite nature. The remains of three important religious houses are still to be seen here, viz., THE FRANCISCAN ABBEY, THE AUGUSTINAN ABBEY, and the Abbey of the Holy Trinity.

Augustinian Abbey, Adare

Augustinian Abbey, Adare

The first of these was founded by Thomas Fitz-Maurice, seventh Earl of Kildare, and his wife Joan; the second, an exceedingly picturesque ruin, was built in the year 1315, by John Fitz-Thomas, first Earl of Kildare, and forms a beautiful and striking object in the landscape. "A great part of this friary," says a writer who visited it in 1781, "still remains in good preservation; the steeple, similar to that of the Trinitarians, is supported by an arch; the choir is large, with stalls, and the nave answerable thereto, with a lateral aisle on the south side; to the north of the steeple are some beautiful cloisters with Gothic windows, within which, on three of the sides, are corridors, and on most of these windows are escutcheons with the English and saltire crosses, generally ranged alternately; the workmanship is simply elegant, the principal parts being of hewn limestone, which appears so fresh as to give it a modern yet venerable appearance."

The monastery of the Holy Trinity was founded, and amply endowed, by the first Earl of Kildare, for the pious purpose of redeeming Christian captives from slavery. The entrance to it was by a low gate, on the west side, which, as well as the other remaining portions of this building, are of an extremely massive and gloomy character. The castle, built by the Earls of Desmond to command the bridge over the river, is now reduced to a pile of ruins; but the portions of the structure which remain show that it must have been a place of great strength, and that its position was admirably chosen to protect the pass it was intended to defend. It was finally destroyed in the rebellion of 1641. Adare gives the titles of baron and viscount to the ancient Irish family of Quin, Earls of Dunraven and Mountearl. Adare Castle, the family seat, is situated on the western bank of the river. in a very extensive and highly-ornamented demesne, and commands a fine view of the ancient castle and the venerable abbeys in its neigbourhood. The architecture of this noble mansion entitles it to be considered as one of the finest edifices in the country.