Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park Castles are witnesses of history and spaces of cultural heritage everyone should visit. Figures estimate Ireland has over 30,000 castles and castle ruins. The Bunratty Castle in County Clare is one of the largest and most known of Ireland, so if you are visiting the area, take a day trip to admire this historical beauty – it's worth your time!
The medieval castle
Located close to the city of Limerick, the castle was built on an ancient historical site in 1425 over the grounds of a Viking trading camp from 970. The castle is the most authentic medieval fortress in the whole of Ireland, offering spectacular views of the River Shannon and the surrounding land. Its name means castle at the mouth of the Ratty and its lands were given to countless Plantation families. The last one that lived there was the Studdart family, who moved out in 1804 to a manor house in the Folk Park. The castle was restored in the 1950s to improve the medieval look. Inside you will find a diverse collection of furniture and other artifacts from the 15th and 16th century.
Travel back in time
The Folk Park comprises an area of 26 acres, with more than 30 buildings recreating village life in the 19th century. Houses, shops and decorations were compiled to illustrate the style of the time. Find a post office, a doctor's house, pubs, a pottery shop, and house models of different social stratum. Visitors will recognize houses of one-room that belonged to the lower class to examples like the Bunratty House – a Georgian residence from the higher class. One of these cottages is original. Each stone was transported one by one from its site in Shannon. The rest of the cottages were loyally reconstructed to fit the real design by using local stone, and river reeds to make the roof thatching. See how fruits scones are baked; take a lesson at school or listen to the craic at the pub. All are scenes performed by real actors that bring to life daily situations at the village. Elsewhere, look out for the Irish wolfhounds, they love to be pet and stroll down the walled garden. This colorful garden is one of the surviving parts from the castle. They were refreshed to illustrate the horticultural heritage of the Regency era.
Indulge on a medieval banquet
Experience an evening banquet just as they did in the medieval times. The treat consists of a 4-course meal in the Great Hall of the castle together with music performed by harpists and violinists, and dancers. The meal is a tasty Irish-style dinner, including fine wine and honey mead. Check out their website for the exact menu. Vegetarian options are available upon request. Good to know If you are traveling in September, consider attending the Harvest Festival or during Christmas prepare to see full decorations of the time. Anyhow, check out for more of their themed events throughout the year.