Bunratty Castle is one of many castles that dot the Irish countryside. Found in County Clare, it dates back the early 1400s and was intended to replace a series of other fortresses that had previously sat on the same site. Bunratty Castle Ireland history sees the McNamara family building the current edifice, and the exact year of its completion was 1425. Decidedly medieval in appearance, Bunratty Castle attracts plenty of sightseers and photographers. No trip to County Clare would arguably be complete without dropping by to enjoy a tour of the edifice and its surrounding park.
Just 50 years after the McNamaras built Bunratty Castle, it fell into the hands of the powerful O'Brien clan. The O'Briens' were descendants of an eleventh-century Irish king, and among other impressive structures, they also owned nearby Dromoland Castle. Unlike Dromoland Castle, Bunratty Castle didn't remain an O'Brien possession for centuries on end. The family's cooperation with England during the Irish Confederate Wars (1641-1653) didn't sit well with the Confederate Ireland forces, and the edifice was besieged and taken in 1646. Subsequent to this, Bunratty Castle Ireland history sees the fortress and its vast lands being granted to Plantation families. Slowly, the castle fell into disrepair, though the 7th Viscount Gort, or Lord Gort, as he was also known, came to the rescue in the 1950s and restored it to its former glory.
Bunratty Castle has been open to the public ever since 1960, and you might be interested to know that no other castle in the country is arguably as complete or well-restored. Both the inner chambers and the surrounding grounds are available for tours, and once the sun sets, the castle is transformed into a medieval entertainment venue. The nightly banquet dinners have helped to make Bunratty Castle a popular Ireland tourist attraction, and adding one to your County Clare itinerary is certainly worth considering.
There is more to the Bunratty Castle grounds than the castle itself. This living museum's grounds feature a theme park of sorts, the likes of which focus on the history of the place. This park covers approximately twenty acres and is known as the Bunratty Folk Park. Among its main attractions is the recreation of a nineteenth-century village street. Thousands of people drop by every year to experience everything that Bunratty Castle has to offer, and visitors are welcome any day of the year. The castle and folk park are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
When planning a visit to Bunratty Castle, you might keep its adjoining hotel in mind. The Bunratty Castle Hotel Ireland, as this hotel is known, is a country-house hotel par excellence. Thanks to its overall quality and its proximity to Bunratty Castle, this 80-unit hotel is known to fill up fast, so booking in advance is recommended, especially during the peak summer season. All of the rooms and suites at the Bunratty Castle Hotel Ireland are spacious and well-equipped, and among the guest facilities are a restaurant, a bar, and a spa.