Medieval castles are windows to the past. One of this windows to the past is the Bunratty Castle, a 15th century medieval fortress castle in Ireland.
I visited Bunratty Castle and Bunratty Folk Park in a spring afternoon. Bunratty Castle and Bunratty Folk Park are on a walled area where the public can visit them by purchasing an admission ticket.
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park is located on the west of Ireland, in County Clare, close to N18 road, between Limerick and Ennis cities. The castle and the folk park are easily accessed by road. They are approximately 10 minutes drive from Shannon International Airport.
I spent a half day to visit Bunratty Castle and Bunratrry Folk Park. I got a bus at the Limerick bus station and it took about 20 minutes to arrive there.
There are many things to see at Bunratty. You can explore the Bunratty Castle itself, the Bunratty Folk Park and the Village Street. I invite you to know each one of these three amazing experiences at Bunratty.
My first experience was inside the Bunratty Castle. I entered into the castle and I saw many artifacts, furniture, tapestries and artworks which recreate the medieval splendour of the 15th and 16th centuries.
In this picture below, this room called as “The Great Hall”, was used for banquets and audience of the Earls of Thomond. Today, it’s decorated with French, Belgian and Flemish tapestries and oak cupboard.
Bunratty castle had a long past of occupation. The MacNamara family built the present edification in 1425. After the MacNamara family, Bunratty Castle was in the hands of the O’Briens, later Earls of Thomond, during the 16th and 17th centuries. Under the control of the O’Briens, Bunratty Castle had its splendour. The castle was an important stronghold of Thomond.
In the early 18th century, the castle was bought by the Studdert family. The Studdert family, in 1804, built a house near the castle, Bunratty House, and then left the castle to live there. After that, Bunratty Castle fell into disrepair. Today, you can also visit Bunratty House. In my other post you can know a charming garden which was built near the Bunratty House to serve the Studderts. See more at Bunratty Folk Park.
Only after the purchase of Bunratty Castle by the 7th Viscount Gort in the mid 20th century which the castle was saved from ruins. An expressive restoration work brought to the Bunratty Castle its splendour and a part of Ireland’s past.
Besides restoring the castle, Viscount Lord Gort with the help of archaeologist John Hunt filled the castle with furnishing, works of art and artifacts of the period when the castle was home of the MacNamaras and O’Briens. Together, Gort and Hunt restored completely the castle featuring over 450 collection items.
In the early 1960s, Bunratty Castle was opened to the public as a National Monument. Nowadays, you can visit not only inside the castle and know its fine collection but also the Bunratty Folk Park.
From the top of the building, I saw a river alongside the Bunratty castle. Can you imagine the name of this river?!
This room, called as “The Main Guard” is decorated with furnishings of the 15th and 16th centuries. It was the main room of the Earl’s soldiers. Today, it’s used for medieval banquets.
You can also visit Bunratty Castle during the night. The visitors are welcome to experience the famous Bunratty Medieval Castle Banquets in the Bunratty Castle. The entertainment programme comprises fine food, wine and traditional Irish music. It’s necessary to make reservation in advance. Bunratty Castle and Bunratty Medieval Castle Banquets are open to the public all year round.
I believe that you’ve already read this post, haven’t you?! So I recommend you watching my amazing experience at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park on this video. But I have a little more to share with you. I also wrote a post about Bunratty Folk Park on Jolly Along abroad.
I’m also inviting you to know another castle I visited in Ireland. Its name is King John’s Castle. You can read about it here on Jolly Along abroad.