Adare: The Augustinian Friary and St Nicholas Church
The jewel-like Augustinian friary in Adare, Co Limerick celebrates the 700th anniversary of its foundation in 2015. Established by the Anglo-Norman lord of the manor in 1315, the friary was home to the reforming order of Augustinian hermit friars. The Augustinians originated in thirteenth-century Italy, inspired by the simple monastic life laid down by the fifth-century bishop and saint, Augustine of Hippo. They devoted their energies to preaching, charitable work and an ascetic way of life, until the enforced closure of the friary by Cromwell in the sixteenth century.
One of three medieval religious houses in the heritage town of Adare, county Limerick, the Augustinian friary is the only one that survives largely intact and unscathed, due to the adoption of the friary church in the nineteenth century as the parish church of St Nicholas. The resulting restoration sensitively re-created the simplicity and spirituality that lay at the heart of the Augustinian ethos. Today the friary, largely complete as originally built, represents a moving tribute to a vanished way of life. The calm silence of the church interior and the graceful simplicity of the enclosed cloister still evoke a sense of a hallowed space.
This souvenir guide, richly illustrated with specially commissioned photography, sets the context for the thousands of visitors who come here every year. It outlines the friary’s foundation, the monastic life led here and the role it played in the local community. It describes the architecture of the friary buildings and recounts their more recent history and the renewed sense of purpose they now embody.