Guest Author - Mary Ellen Sweeney
There's more to Irish castles than that place where they keep the Blarney Stone. Ireland has any number of intriguing castles to visit from the wildly popular Blarney Castle to Ashford Castle and many more.
Bunratty (Gaelic: Bun Ráite - mouth of the Ratty River) Castle, located in County Clare on the banks of the Ratty River and overlooking the River Shannon, is a major attraction in Ireland both for local and international visitors. The recreations of a 19th century folk park and very famous nightly medieval banquets attract people from all over the world.
Built in 1425, Bunratty Castle was restored to its present excellent condition in 1954. This is a specially built structure that combines the early Norman castle style with later Gaelic tower houses. There is a rectangular tower with three main floors and four, 6-story corner turrets. The castle is in excellent condition.
Bunratty Castle is rightly renowned for its medieval banquets, held year-round in the castle's Great Hall. These are great fun for young and old alike. Listen to harp while you enjoy the jesters and a 4-course feast of medieval dishes. Mead, the medieval honeyed wine is a specialty of the house.
The castle's Great Hall contains a fine collection of 14th- to 18th-century furniture, paintings, and wall hangings.
The folk park is a like a living museum from the 19th century, with cottages, farmhouses, and shops; everything true to the time. The cottage roofs are thatch, the walls are whitewash, and the animals are kept in pastures and fields. There is homemade bread, baked in old-fashioned ovens, and the people carry on their daily duties in the costume of the day.
This is a very pleasant, relaxing way for the entire family to spend a fun day out...and even learn a little about the olden days.
Bunratty Castle is located in Ennis, County Clare on the N18 Limerick/Ennis Road.
Thee are also a number of other attractions in the area that a family would enjoy, so add a few days to your stay and make the most of your trip to County Clare.
Mooghaun Ring Fort
Fenloe Lake & Abbey
Cratloe Forest Park
Cratloe Woods House
Bunratty Mead & Liqueur Company