Castle

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

161 locals recommend

Tips from locals

Katrina
May 12, 2022
Set on 26 acres of unspolit Clare countryside, Bunratty Folk Park features over 30 buildings in a ‘living’ village and rural setting. Rural farmhouses, village shops and streets are recreated and furnished as they would have appeared at that time according to their social standing, from the poorest one roomed dwelling to Bunratty House a fine example of a Georgian residence built 1804 home of the Studdarts, the last family to occupy Bunratty Castle. For more info check out: www.Bunratty castle.ie
Set on 26 acres of unspolit Clare countryside, Bunratty Folk Park features over 30 buildings in a ‘living’ village and rural setting. Rural farmhouses, village shops and streets are recreated and furnished as they would have appeared at that time according to their social standing, from the poorest…
Nick
April 9, 2022
Bunratty Co Clare - Take a walk through the castle from the dungeon to the top of the castle. Then explore the folk park as it would have been in the 19th century, shops, school and even a working pub.
Olive And Declan
April 6, 2022
Bunratty Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former splendor and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art capturing the mood of those times. Bunratty Folk Park gives visitors a taste of what village life was like back in the castle’s glory days. History The current structure representing Bunratty Castle was built by the MacNamaras around the year 1425. Architecturally, it was constructed in rectangular tower house style. Approximately, half a century later, ownership reverted to the O’Briens who represented the largest clan in North Munster. The castle and surrounding area prospered under the O’Briens who were granted the title 'Earls of Thomond' by King Henry VIII of England. However, Bunratty Castle was eventually surrendered when their reign ended upon the arrival of Cromwellian troops. Thereafter, the O'Briens relocated to Dromoland Castle. Over time, various Irish families took residence at the castle until the Studdert family took residence in 1720 after acquiring it. They remained there for approximately a century before the castle fell into disrepair and ruin. In 1945, the ruins were purchased by Lord Gort, seventh Viscount Gort, who restored the castle to its current condition. Contents within the castle include 16th century style furnishings from Lord Gort and his wife. Today, Bunratty Castle represents one of the finest castles in Ireland. While the current state of Bunratty Castle was constructed during the 15th century, it was actually the fourth castle built on or near its current location. The first castle was built in 1250 when the lands were granted by King Henry III to Robert De Muscegro who built a traditional motte and bailey Norman style structure consisting of a strong wooden tower atop an earthen motte. Eventually, the lands were were revoked by King Henry II and granted to Thomas De Clare who built the first stone castle on the site. In 1318, Thomas, as well as his son, Richard De Clare, were killed by Irish forces at the Battle of Dysert O’DeClare. After hearing the news, De Clare’s wife set fire to the castle and town before setting sail for England. Upon arrival of the Irish to Bunratty Castle after the battle, the devastation encountered may best be characterized by a chronicler at the time who described it as “deserted, empty, wrapped in fire, from which time to this never one of the breed of De Clare has come back to claim it.” A few years later in 1322, the castle was restored by the King of England. However, it was destroyed a decade later in 1332 by the Irish Chieftains of Thomond who were led by the O’Briens and MacNamaras. The castle remained in ruins for 21 years before being rebuilt by Sir Thomas Rokeby. However, it was once again attacked and destroyed by the Irish. Highlights Bunratty Castle was constructed as a traditional Irish rectangular tower house consisting of three main floors and turrets at each corner. The turrets and outer wall areas surrounding the main central rooms contain smaller bedrooms, kitchens and private chapel and a dungeon. The most impressive room in the castle, the Great Hall, is located on the top floor. It served as a banquet hall and audience chamber for the Earls of Thomond. Various decorative tapestries hang from walls of the hall. Moreover, large windows and high plastered walls provide a bright and airy ambiance to the room. The floor below the Great Hall contains the Main Guard. This areas served as the general living and dining area for soldiers and retainers. Even within this shared space, status and precedence were extremely important as a demarcation line on the floor divided the room between officers and general soldiers, in addition to castle workers. Bunratty Castle is conveniently located just a few miles from the Shannon Airport. The castle grounds include a folk park where visitors can experience Irish life more than a century ago by visiting farmhouses, shops, pubs and thatched roofed houses. But the biggest tourist attraction is the castle itself. A visit to Bunratty Castle would not be complete unless you partake in one of the medieval banquet dinners hosted after the castle closes for daytime visitors. For those with a reservation, guests gather in the Great Hall to listen to musicians playing a harp and violin while enjoying a beverage prior to enjoying a three course mail within the Main Guard. During dinner, Irish singers entertain the crowd by singing traditional Irish songs. Upon exiting in the dark, you will notice the castle in all its majesty illuminated by flood lights.
Bunratty Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former splendor and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art capturing the mood of those times. Bunratty Folk Park gives visitors a…
Claire
May 29, 2021
A well worth while day out with friends and family . A 45/50minute drive , down the motorway towards limerick .
Laoise
September 4, 2018
A self guided tour of this wonderful historic site, stop by Durty Nelly's afterwards for some food and drink!

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Location
Bunratty, CE
Bunratty West