Members of the Kildare family founded Adare's three monasteries. The Trinitarian abbey was founded about the year 1230 for the Trinitarian Canons of the Redemption of Captives, and was the only house of the Order in Ireland.
The Augustinian Friary was founded in 1315 by Thomas, Earl of Kildare, and his Countess Joan, who was buried within the friary itself. It was restored in 1807 by the Earl of Dunraven and has since been used as a Church of Ireland church. The friary of St Augustine was inhabited by the Order of the Eremites. The friary, which was situated on the west bridge of Adare, was called the Black Abbey due to the black habit of the monks.
A Franciscan friary was founded here, the remains of which are situated in the demesne of Adare Manor, on the bank of the river Maigue. These remains are very extensive. They include a nave, choir, the south transept of the church, cloisters, etc. This Franciscan Friary, founded in 1464, was attacked and burned in 1647.
At this time, Limerick County had suffered greatly from raids by the parliamentary troops. Having entered Limerick, the troops proceeded as far as Adare, where they burned the Franciscan convent. Locals believe that four of the friars were consumed in the flames, and that three who escaped were later taken prisoners.