THIRTY years of construction, 52 chimneys, and 365 ornate leaded glass windows were some of Adare Manor’s key ingredients on its foundation in the 1800s.
The second Earl of Dunraven never lived to see his Calendar House come to life, but almost 160 years after its completion, Limerick awaits its refurbishment with bated breath. Now, in 2017, the numbers look like this: 350 jobs, 2,000 new trees, 104 bedrooms, and one redesigned golf course.
“Hopefully it’ll be done to the standards that everybody is expecting,” Manor owner JP McManus said at a reception this week.
“From what I see, I’m very pleased with the way things are going, and hopefully it’ll be all systems go towards the end of the year.”
The mammoth task of completely renovating the manor house, outbuildings and over 800 acres, has been in progress since Mr McManus acquired the estate in 2014.
The mystery surrounding the work at one of county Limerick’s most iconic landmarks has put the rumour mill into overdrive.
“This is not only a huge construction site – it’s the most complicated construction site in Ireland at the moment, where you have a neo-Gothic building from Victorian times being recreated, painstakingly minded, and extended at the same time,” said Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan.
The new golf course, designed by world-renowned course designer Tom Fazio, is hotly anticipated by both professionals and amateurs alike.
Champion jockey AP McCoy had a look around the grounds on Monday morning, and told the Limerick Leader that the entire project was “very exciting”.
“I’m a very keen golfer, so I’m very much looking forward to getting out on the golf course. I had a look around, it’s amazing, and very different – similar but different. The actual Manor is going to be shown off from nearly all over the course,” he said.
“It’s going to be so well manicured as well, so it’s going to be off the charts in terms of a golf course. There won’t be any golf courses in Ireland like it anyway, I’m not even sure there’ll be any in Europe like it,” he added.
The interior renovations include “upgrading and restoring internal finishes, furniture and woodwork, and repairing the external stonework and windows”, according to a spokesperson.
“The new designs by acclaimed architects Reardon Smith and interior designers Richmond will enhance all of the guest bedrooms and public areas. These renovations will honour the building’s architectural heritage as a Neo-Gothic masterpiece and embody the hotel’s signature style, whilst incorporating the latest in contemporary luxury and technological innovations.”
A new bedroom wing will bring the total room count to 104, while the addition of a “splendid new ballroom” will have a capacity for 350 people.
“Both will be clad in limestone, complementing the architectural detail of the original Manor House,” a spokesperson explained.
A new state-of-the-art spa, pool and relaxation area, boardroom and cinema are some other highly-anticipated features.
“As a local person first and foremost, this is a fantastic day. This is the largest jobs announcement in county Limerick, outside of the city, in probably 30 or 40 years,” said Mr O’Donovan.
Of course, jobs are not the only thing that the new resort could bring to Adare and Limerick.
Mr McManus made it clear that he hopes to bid for the 2026 Ryder Cup, which if successful, would be a major coup local area and the entire country.
“That’s a long way off, you’re in the promised land at that stage,” smiled Mr McManus when asked about his ‘dream’ to host the tournament, which he was speaking of for the first time in public.
“There’s a lot of competition for something like that, and we’d only hope that our name would be in the hat, and I think we have the venue, I think we have the facilities, but it’ll need a lot of support apart from that to get something like the Ryder Cup,” he added.