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The Finest Ol' Inn in Ireland: The Dunraven Arms in Adare

This entry is part of a series, Ireland 2009»

Dunraven Arms

A fairy-tale trip needs an enchanting guest house as a base of operations. We had ours: The Dunraven Arms Hotel in Adare, Co. Limerick. Founded in 1792, The Dunraven has everything a modern, quality hotel should have. More importantly, it has “quaint” built into its bones.

I knew the Dunraven from working trips to Ireland in the past. Situated in Adare (known as the prettiest village in Ireland), it’s well outside of the bustling city of Limerick, in the peace and quiet of the green countryside. Indeed, it’s only fifteen minutes to the Big City if you want access to the amenities there, but strolling around Adare you get the feeling you’re hundreds of miles away from noise, crowds and hassles. A stay in the village reduces my blood pressure a good thirty points!

The Dunraven has nearly a hundred rooms, all lavishly appointed with big, soft beds and high-quality antique furniture. There are great prints on the walls everywhere; if you like great old paintings and drawings, this hotel can occupy you for hours just admiring the art. When you go outside on the grounds there are flowers in profusion, and plenty of little nooks and crannies to explore, pr to sit in and read a book or newspaper.

Hotel Door

For this trip, we had a Junior Suite, in the newer wing. A big room with a huge bathroom, there was plenty of room to stretch out and sort through our stuff. (You see, when you shop like PJ, you need lots of space to sort through the plunder.) We had a wonderful, large canopy bed. There are modern conveniences too, like wireless internet access, cable television, and heated towel racks. For those who need that sort of thing, of course.

As you can tell, we were really “roughing it” in the wilds of primeval Ireland. You needn’t feel sorry for us, though; we’re tough, and we suffered along quite well at the Dunraven.

We spent several relaxing hours in the pub, feasting on a variety of snacks and light meals: Sandwiches, soups, fruit with clotted cream, desserts and more. All prepared in the kitchens of the Maigue Restaurant, also in the hotel. We sampled the Guinness, of course! And a few other adult beverages, just to show we weren’t playing favorites. There’s a nice conservatory room attached to the pub, where you can have a tranquil meal with natural lighting all ’round.

Dunraven Arms Rear Garden

The Maigue Restaurant is where we ate breakfast every morning. (It’s named in honor of the river that runs near Adare. I think it also means “monk” in Gaelige.) A full Irish breakfast, served as a buffet. However, if there are any other items you want, you need but ask. PJ had porridge a couple of times, even though she asked for hot oatmeal. It was so good she ate it anyway

There are scrambled eggs, bacon and breakfast sausages, black-and-white sausage, broiled tomatoes and grilled mushrooms. Some mornings a lovely, roasted Limerick Ham was served. If you want fried eggs, they’ll get them for you quickly. Fruit and fruit juices are available in abundance. Baked goods are displayed on their own table, and you can make toast to your own liking using their fast toaster.

A word about Irish bacon. If you haven’t had it, you’re missing out on a treat. It’s leaner than our “streaky bacon,” but every bit as tasty, in my opinion. You have to be careful about asking for “bacon,” though. Breakfast bacon is called rashers. You see, other than the hams, all meat from a pig is called “bacon” in Ireland! So if you aren’t specific you might wind up with pork shoulder roast. That’s good eats, but not often found for breakfast.

The Dunraven Arms has a big banquet hall, with seating for over 200 guests at events like weddings and other celebrations. There’s a new meeting center as well, for corporate events. The Dunraven hosts a couple of weddings most weekends. People come from all over Ireland to host their receptions in the Dunraven. After spending ten days there, we know exactly why.

We found the service (and services) to be outstanding. Mr. Louis Murphy, the Dunraven’s active proprietor, sees that everything is in top shape and that every guest is made welcome. We would see him there early and late, greeting everybody with a warm smile and a hearty handshake. As nearly as we could tell he knows every guest by name. It didn’t matter where they were from, either! Spain, Germany, Japan all had guests in the Dunraven while we were there.

Dunraven Fog

So whether you’re on your way through the area, or planning to visit Adare, or do as we did and take day trips out into the country, I heartily recommend the Dunraven Arms for your lodging needs. And don’t overlook the Dunraven for a nice place to stay if you’re working in Limerick. I know I’ll be back on my next business trip to the region…

Enjoy the (Luxury Living) Heat!

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