If you're seduced by charming Irish villages, you'll want to head to the lovely village of Adare, which is full of picturesque thatched-roof cottages, beautiful gardens, ivy-covered medieval churches, and lots and lots of tour buses. Yes, this place has been seriously discovered by the tour-bus crowds (even by May, which is still officially off season, the roads can get clogged at times), but it's still worth a stop.
If the Story Fitz . . .
Between Adare and Limerick, the small town of Patrickswell is home to the bijou Honey Fitz Theatre (tel. 061/385386; www.loughgur.com), the main venue for the Lough Gur Storytelling Festival, a weekend-long event in late October that celebrates the art of the good yarn, through a program of music, drama, and poetry (events are also held at the Lough Gill Interpretive Centre). Honey Fitz was the nickname of John Fitzgerald (1863-1950), grandfather to President John F. Kennedy. According to the biographer Robert Dallek, Fitz had a reputation for being "the only politician who could sing Sweet Adeline sober and get away with it." The theater was opened in 1994 by Fitzgerald's granddaughter, Jean Kennedy Smith (who was then U.S. Ambassador). Sweet Adeline was sung during the ceremony.