Adare is often described as the prettiest village in Ireland. A regular winner in the Tidy towns competition, Adare scooped the national title in 1976 and has been a contender ever since. The Third Earl of Dunraven built a street with thatched cottages and well trimmed hedges at the gates of his early Victorian Manor in the 1820s. History had already endowed Adare with an exquisite backdrop to further please the eye - an ivied Norman Castle beside the river Maigue and the best collection of ruined medieval friaries in Ireland. These include a 13th century Trinitarian monastery, a 15th century Franciscan Monastery and a 14th century Augustinian Monastery. Adare has an informative heritage centre, which uses models and audiovisual displays explaining the history of the area. It is open from May to September.