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Ireland has no shortage of breath-taking 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 modelled 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, 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 honour 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 centre, 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.