| 23°C Dublin

JP McManus Pro-am: Pól Ó Conghaile takes you inside Adare Manor

Tiger Woods, Billy Murray, Niall Horan and the world’s top golfers have all checked into Adare Manor this week. Our travel editor has been there, done that...

Close

The Dunraven Stateroom at Adare Manor

The Dunraven Stateroom at Adare Manor

The Dunraven Stateroom at Adare Manor

'This bedside tablet controls your world in here," says the receptionist, who walks me from Adare Manor's Great Hall to my lodgings, a €1,450-a-night Dunraven Stateroom.

The tablet, fully charged and unbesmirched by so much as a single fingerprint, operates everything from temperatures to lighting and bathroom blinds.

"Just like home?" she smiles.

"Well, my home would fit inside it," I joke, casting an eye from king-size bed, with its sparklingly white duvet cover and regal 'A' monogram, through period windows to the fabulously pedantic French Gardens outside.

Close

5 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA after finishing his round on day two of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

5 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA after finishing his round on day two of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

5 July 2022; Sam Burns of USA signs an autograph for a fan on the 2nd hole during day two of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

5 July 2022; Sam Burns of USA signs an autograph for a fan on the 2nd hole during day two of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

04/07/2022
Tiger Woods pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Tiger Woods pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

4 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA, left, and Limerick hurler Gearóid Hegarty during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA, left, and Limerick hurler Gearóid Hegarty during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

LIMERICK, IRELAND - JULY 04: Tiger Woods of United States plays his second shot to the 9th hole during Day One of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor on July 04, 2022 in Limerick, Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

LIMERICK, IRELAND - JULY 04: Tiger Woods of United States plays his second shot to the 9th hole during Day One of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor on July 04, 2022 in Limerick, Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Comedian Bill Murray reacts to members of the public during the JP McManus Pro-Am charity golf tournament at Adare Manor, Ireland, Monday, July, 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Comedian Bill Murray reacts to members of the public during the JP McManus Pro-Am charity golf tournament at Adare Manor, Ireland, Monday, July, 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Singer and songwriter Niall Horan takes a picture with fans during the JP McManus Pro-Am golf tournament at Adare Manor, Ireland, Monday, July 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Singer and songwriter Niall Horan takes a picture with fans during the JP McManus Pro-Am golf tournament at Adare Manor, Ireland, Monday, July 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

4 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Rory McIlroy watches his drive on the second during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Rory McIlroy watches his drive on the second during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Rory McIlroy during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Rory McIlroy during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Xander Schauffele of USA, left, Gerry McIlroy, father of Rory, on the 10th during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Xander Schauffele of USA, left, Gerry McIlroy, father of Rory, on the 10th during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA tees off on the ninth during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA tees off on the ninth during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

04/07/2022
Tiger Woods pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Tiger Woods pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Justin Thomas pictured with JP McManus and John Kiely at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Justin Thomas pictured with JP McManus and John Kiely at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Padraig Harrington pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Padraig Harrington pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Justin Thomas pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Justin Thomas pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
John Rahm pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 John Rahm pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Shane Lowry poses for a selfie with Patrick Hore from Enniscorthy, Co Wexford at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Shane Lowry poses for a selfie with Patrick Hore from Enniscorthy, Co Wexford at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Ian Woosnam pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Ian Woosnam pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Shane Lowry pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Shane Lowry pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Padraig Harrington pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Padraig Harrington pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Actor Bill Murray pictured with playing partner Jamie Dornan at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Actor Bill Murray pictured with playing partner Jamie Dornan at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

4 July 2022; Matt Fitzpatrick on the second green during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Matt Fitzpatrick on the second green during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Actor Bill Murray during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Actor Bill Murray during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Irish businessmen Dermot Desmond, left, and JP McManus during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Irish businessmen Dermot Desmond, left, and JP McManus during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Matt Fitzpatrick on the second fairway during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Matt Fitzpatrick on the second fairway during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Actors Jamie Dornan, right, and Bill Murray during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Actors Jamie Dornan, right, and Bill Murray during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Former EU Commissioner Phil Hogan during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Former EU Commissioner Phil Hogan during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Matt Fitzpatrick putts on the second green during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Matt Fitzpatrick putts on the second green during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Irish businessmen Dermot Desmond, left, and JP McManus during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

4 July 2022; Irish businessmen Dermot Desmond, left, and JP McManus during day one of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

04/07/2022
Niall Horan pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Niall Horan pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Actor Bill Murray pictured with caddie Paul McCarthy at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Actor Bill Murray pictured with caddie Paul McCarthy at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Actor Bill Murray pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Actor Bill Murray pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Actor Bill Murray pictured with playing partners  Niall Horan and Jamie Dornan at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Actor Bill Murray pictured with playing partners Niall Horan and Jamie Dornan at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Actor Bill Murray pictured with playing partner Niall Horan at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Actor Bill Murray pictured with playing partner Niall Horan at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Niall Horan pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Niall Horan pictured at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022
Actor Bill Murray pictured with playing partner Jamie Dornan at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick.
Pic: Don Moloney

04/07/2022 Actor Bill Murray pictured with playing partner Jamie Dornan at the JP McManus Pro-Am which took place at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick. Pic: Don Moloney

/

5 July 2022; Tiger Woods of USA after finishing his round on day two of the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Golf Club in Adare, Limerick. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

"A lot of people say that," is the gracious reply.

Clearly, this is nothing like my home. That's why I'm so excited to check in. Adare Manor is hosting the world’s top golfers this week who will play in the JP McManus Pro-am.

The venue underwent a no-expenses spared restoration in 2017/18. It has been refurbished right down to the last pane of glass and piece of parquet flooring. It boasts a brand new ballroom and bedroom wing. Its golf course has been wholly reconstructed. There's no other way to put it - this is an awesome reboot.

I don't actually use the tablet, incidentally. I'm not sure it's needed. But it points perfectly to the hi-tech wizardry subtly underpinning the resort's richly restored heritage.

As does the deep, roll-top bathtub sitting next to mirrors that steadfastly refuse to steam up when I shower. Or the presence of pleasing brass dolly light switches next to motion-sensitive night-lights that cast a low glow when I swing my legs out of bed during the night.

Travel insider Newsletter

Considering where to go as the world opens up? Indulge your inner traveller with our free newsletter every Wednesday.

This field is required

Or afternoon tea, where I segue between slathering homely hedgerow jam onto a scone, and biting into a playful choux pastry taste bomb. Or the roaring fires, suits of armour and understated contemporary fabrics. Old and new blend beautifully.

Dating from the 1830s, Adare's original manor house was developed by the 2nd Earl of Dunraven with the Latin motto, Quae Sursum Volo Videre ('I wish to see what is beyond'). For Adare Manor 2.0, marketing manager Sarah Ormston tells me, the team wanted to go further, encapsulating Irish identity, intuitive five-star service and a marriage of rich heritage and state-of-the-art luxury. They even have a new tagline: 'Beyond Everything'.

"What we have here is special and unique," Paul Heery, Adare's new General Manager, tells me over a drink in the Tack Room - a cellar cocktail bar designed by London's David Collins Studio. Wearing that 'A' monogram as a lapel pin (it crops up everywhere), Heery lauds a stunning architecture and history, and seems genuinely humbled to be involved. "We're in a room going back to the 18th century, and that carries an awe with it," he says. At one point, he pulls out his phone to show me a video of the clubhouse burning - it caught fire in winter 2017, delaying the reopening. "We were so close," he sighs. "The cushions were in. Hoteliers like to be in control, but you're watching something you have no control over... it was heartbreaking."

Close

Adare Manor

Adare Manor

Deluxe King bedroom, Adare Manor

Deluxe King bedroom, Adare Manor

The Gallery, Adare Manor

The Gallery, Adare Manor

The award-winning 'Japanese Garden' cocktail at Adare Manor

The award-winning 'Japanese Garden' cocktail at Adare Manor

Spa, Adare Manor

Spa, Adare Manor

Gallery, Adare Manor

Gallery, Adare Manor

Liam Ford and friend at Adare Manor (falconry)

Liam Ford and friend at Adare Manor (falconry)

Mackerel, cucumber, avocado, soy, caviar - Adare Manor, Oak Room restaurant

Mackerel, cucumber, avocado, soy, caviar - Adare Manor, Oak Room restaurant

Rory McIlroy takes a shot at Adare Manor, as the 2020 JP McManus Pro-Am was launched. Photo: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Rory McIlroy takes a shot at Adare Manor, as the 2020 JP McManus Pro-Am was launched. Photo: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Spa, Adare Manor

Spa, Adare Manor

Adare Manor

Adare Manor

/

Adare Manor

The clubhouse was rebuilt and the golf course is set to host the 2026 Ryder Cup. It was launched with a four-ball featuring Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Paul McGinley and Shane Lowry. As you do.

Heery isn't the only one who has the air of a custodian. From marketers to managers, chefs to sommeliers, the staff I meet seem genuinely invested in the place - in the notion that Adare Manor and its estate were here long before them, and will be long after they go. "It's the building and the beauty," Heery muses. "And to have an owner who did what they did."

Ah yes, the owner. Adare Manor was famously acquired by JP McManus and family for a reported €30m in 2014. At that point, the old hotel - call it Adare Manor 1.0 - was a flagship Irish five-star, but had clearly begun to tire. You couldn't ask for a better white knight - a wealthy Limerick family with a sense of legacy.

Over two years, the resort was rebuilt from the bottom up, in places surpassing even the spectacular revamps of Ashford Castle and Ballyfin. The McManus family has been hugely involved, I'm told, right down to the fabrics, but nobody - and I mean nobody - will discuss the budget.

Staff squirm so much, in fact, I feel crass even asking. It couldn't be done for less than €75m, one industry source tells me. Another reporter suggests up to €100m.

"There are only three people who know," one local confides. "Mr McManus, his wife, and their accountant."

"Stand and look at it!" Paul Heery says, when I put the dreaded question to him. "Look at the detail, the thought that has gone into this restoration!" Whatever the cost, he implies, it was worth it.

I tend to agree. Every tourism destination needs elite, world-class resorts. They are the Rolls Royces, the marquee names and magazine cover stars that form our highest expressions of hospitality (just like my home, remember?). They are exclusive, unreal playgrounds of the rich and powerful, sure - but they also bring global publicity, hundreds of local jobs and a big economic boost.

What matters is not the cost. What matters is the execution - and whether all that money marries with taste. You could shell out a fortune on a bling-tastic eyesore with golden toilet seats and Swarovski Crystal hot-tubs, after all. But try selling that to the readers of Condé Nast Traveler or Travel + Leisure.

Granted, there are moments when this graceful mask slips. I understand the branding logic to 'Beyond Everything', for instance, but for me the tagline strikes a bum note, pushing the polished tone a little too close to pomposity. The new resort layout also delivers guests to the hotel through a blocky, uninviting tunnel, which I feel could be softened. Sceptical Irish visitors may tire of the almost evangelical devotion to the cause, too.

Feeling my way through it, I think the pool, spa and changing areas are too small for a 104-bedroom hotel of this calibre. They are perfectly plush, but the La Mer spa has just five treatment rooms, the pool is a tiddler, and the sauna has a single bench (when I swim, the water is on the chilly side, too). I understand the spatial constraints between the historic house and River Maigue, but given the spend lavished elsewhere, these facilities feel too hemmed-in for purpose.

Mostly, however, Adare Manor blends extravagance and elegance brilliantly, and it never threatens to tip into outright bling. Ridiculous care was invested in the refurbs - over a dozen craftsmen from Dublin-based Lambstongue were retained to conserve the historic windows alone, for example. Showpiece rooms like the Great Hall, the Hogwarts-esque Gallery (left, the longest in Ireland after Trinity College's Old Library), or the daylight-flooded Drawing Room are simply astonishing - combining breathtaking antiques, design flair and architectural splendour to pack a punch right up there with, say, Ballyfin's Library or The Merrion's Georgian Drawing Rooms.

The attention to detail seems to deepen the longer I stay. Silk wallpaper commands me to run my fingers across it. There is a cinema with Italian leather seats, perfectly weighted ice cubes clink my pre-dinner drink, and curvy, contemporary Ballyhoura Ceramics pop up among fleshy portraits and a Pugin Fireplace in the Oak Room restaurant.

"It's a chef's dream," says chef Michael Tweedie, showing me around state-of-the-art kitchens, producing a sample plate of foie gras terrine, chicken liver parfait and poached rhubarb as he cooks.

I'm no golfer either, but simply walking the 842-acre estate, past the River Maigue and its centuries-old Cedar tree, I feel utterly removed from real life.

So yes, Adare Manor 2.0 has nailed its landing. Now, to that legacy. Because great hotels are not remembered for big budgets or bedside tablets. They are remembered for emotional connections and how they make us feel. Adare Manor feels like another world. But that receptionist was right. It also feels just like home.


Most Watched





Privacy