A labour of love: Peek inside the newly restored Adare Manor
17th century home gets high-tech makeover
It started with a love affair and now the 17th century Adare Manor has been restored in the same vein.
Adare Manor as it now stands was built in 1832, on the site of an earlier family home by the Second Earl of Dunraven, Windham Henry and his wife Caroline.
The building was a labour of love and the initials of the couple can be found entwined throughout the building's stonework. Also engraved throughout was the family motto: "I wish to see what is beyond."
This now forms the very essence of the lavishly restored five-star hotel, which has taken 'Beyond everything' as its own motto.
Each of these carvings, found along hallways, function rooms and in bedrooms, were lovingly restored and brought back to their former glory during the recent renovations. As were the thousands of original panes of glass, floor panelling and roof tiles, each of which were individually removed, restored and replaced.
"It was a real labour of love," explains CEO Colm Hannon, who has overseen every aspect of the massive renovation. "We restored and recycled everything we could and replicated that which needed to be replaced. We have future-proofed this building for the next 100 years."
Adare means Ford of the Oak and current owners JP McManus and his family stayed true to the building's original charm replacing and restoring oak panelling and engravings throughout.
Situated on 850 acres - the same size as Central Park - each hotel bedroom boasts stunning views of river, parkland or forest.
Determined to hold onto the old world charm of the building, while still ensuring every modern day luxury, was a hard task for the designers and restoration teams.
The hotel has incorporated state-of-the-art electronics in each of the 106 bedrooms. Large flat screen TVs are hidden away in antique-style furniture but accessible at the push of a button and the entire room can be controlled electronically despite retaining the air of a Manor home.
"It was always a real consideration not to make the rooms complicated and that everything should be intuitive. So if you want to switch on the light, you can just reach for a switch, but similarly if you want to take the iPad and control the temperature, air conditioning or the lighting and drapes you can do that. So guests have the opportunity to do it manually or if they feel like doing it from the comfort of their bed they can navigate the room from the tablet," said Colm.
The hotel now boasts a state-of-the-art La Mer spa, the only one in Ireland and the UK and one of only 11 worldwide. It was developed in the Manor's old cellars, bringing to life a part of the building never before seen by guests.
Another find for returning guests is the Gallery, one of the longest rooms in Ireland, second only to the Long Room in Trinity College. The grand space with stain glass windows, antique tapestries, open fires and chandeliers was once only used for private functions. It has now been lovingly restored and opened to the public for afternoon tea - something which has proven so popular that weekend reservations are completely booked out until the end of the year.
While guests are now bringing life back into the manor, builders are still hard at work putting the finishing touches to some of the new additions.
The newly built ballroom and an additional 42 bedrooms connects to the old Manor via a colonnade, all made from Irish limestone to merge seamlessly with the original building. It is set to host it's first of 35 booked weddings from the end of this month.
Overlooking the river, the triple height space with an open, airy interior can cater for 350 guests. Colm describes it as "one of the most significant improvements in the hotel".
The Tackroom Bar which will hold a enviable collection of rare Irish whiskey will open to guests later this month. It will stock more than 65 rare whiskeys along with a special brand designed by the hotel with Midleton whiskey, 1832 - named after the year the Manor build began. The bar, will differ in style from the rest of the Manor and will link to an outdoor smoking area.
Nightly rates at Adare Manor begin at €325 and rise to an eye watering €2,750 for the Caroline Dunraven Suite.