Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Co Clare
Recognised as the most complete and authentic castle left in Ireland, Bunratty Castle in County Clare is one for lovers of history and grand homes. The fortification takes its name from the River Raite, which runs alongside it.
This site is steeped in history. Bunratty Castle is iconic in Ireland as its location has been occupied in some way or another for at least 1,000 years. It is said to have started as a Viking trading post around the year 970 A.D.
Bunratty was then occupied by Normans, who built the first defensive fortress. A few centuries later, it was inhabited by Irish nobility: the MacNamara family built the present structure in the 1400s.
It wasn’t until the 1960s, however, that the castle was restored to its former glory. The site was further enhanced by then-owner Lord Gort’s collection of medieval furnishings.
You can explore the castle and its grounds, giving you a view of Ireland’s past.
Adjacent to the castle, you’ll also find Bunratty Folk Park, which the whole family may enjoy visiting. The Park is a reconstruction of a traditional village with farmhouses and shops, letting you experience what Irish rural life would have been like 100 years ago.