by Matt Alderton | November 06, 2017
Ireland has no shortage of breathtaking sights. One of the most beautiful has long been Adare Manor in County Limerick. Commissioned in the 1830s by the 2nd Earl of Dunraven -- who wanted to transform his personal home into an architectural opus modeled after Europe's great houses and cathedrals -- it has been a five-star hotel since the 1980s. Three decades later, the historic castle has reopened as a luxury resort following a two-year restoration and expansion, its owners announced last week.

The manor, the restoration of which was the largest project of its kind in Ireland's history, is set on 842 acres -- the size of New York's Central Park -- and includes a total of 104 guest rooms. New additions include a 42-bedroom wing and a 4,800-square-foot grand ballroom for groups of 350 -- both of which are clad in limestone to honor the detail of the original Manor House -- as well as an 18-hole, par-72 golf course designed by renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio, four food-and-beverage outlets, and a spa with five treatment rooms, a nail salon, a fitness center, and a plunge pool.

Other highlights include a new 30-seat executive boardroom; a new 28-seat cinema; walled gardens; walking trails; and onsite activities such as falconry, archery, cycling, fishing, and an Irish gundog experience during which guests can interact with the manor's resident Irish Labradors.

And, of course, guests can enjoy the property's Neo-Gothic architecture: Adare Manor displays a wealth of gargoyles, heraldry, and decorative stone and wood carvings, and is an example of a rare "Calendar" house with 365 windows, 52 chimneys, seven stone pillars, and four towers to mark the annual tally of days, weeks, and seasons.

"This marks a new beginning for Adare Manor's esteemed legacy," said Colm Hannon, CEO of Adare Manor. "A labor of love from the very start, Adare Manor was created by its original owners to delight, astonish, and impress -- and we continue to hold ourselves accountable to that vision today, which is vividly alive in this new guest experience, and even further reflected by our world-class team, whose personalized service is what makes Adare Manor feel like home."