Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Bunratty, Co Clare
Phone: 061 360788
- A 15th century Medieval Castle: National Mounument of Ireland.
- Marvel at the finest collection of medieval furniture in Ireland which brings to life a vital part of our Medieval past
- View the furniture collection online: http://www.bunrattycollection.com/
- Climb up to the battlements
- Daily Guiding Service
- Open All Year Round (Closed Dec 24-26) Last admission 4pm daily
- At night the castle is the impressive setting for the Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquet,held nightly at 5.30pm and 8.45pm,year round. Reservations are necessary
- Book online at http://www.shannonheritage.com/BookNow/
Bunratty Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings tapestries and works of art which capture the mood of those times. Today the castle stands peacefully in delightful grounds. The houses and cottages of the folk park spread out at the foot of its massive walls much in the way that the cottages and crofts of old would have clustered around its base. We invite you to wander through the castle and marvel at the finest collection of medieval furniture in the country which brings to life a vital part of our Medieval past. Robert De Muscegros, a Norman, built the first defensive fortress (an earthen mound with a strong wooden tower on top) in 1250. His lands were later granted to Thomas De Clare who built the first stone castle on the site. About this time Bunratty became a large town of 1,000 inhabitants.In 1318 Richard De Clare, son of Thomas was killed in a battle between the Irish and the Normans. His followers were routed and the castle and town were completely destroyed. The castle was restored for the King of England but was laid waste in 1332 by the Irish Chieftains of Thomond under the O'Briens and MacNamaras. It lay in ruins for 21 years until it was rebuilt by Sir Thomas Rokeby but was once again attacked by the Irish and the castle remained in Irish hands thereafterThe powerful MacNamara family built the present structure around 1425 but by 1475 it had became the stronghold of the O'Briens, the largest clan in North Munster. They ruled the territory of North Munster and lived in great splendor. The castle was surrounded by beautiful gardens and it was reputed to have a herd of 3,000 deer.Under Henry VIII's 'surrender and re-grant' scheme, the O'Brien's were granted the title 'Earls of Thomond' and they agreed to profess loyalty to the King of England. The reign of the O'Briens came to an end with the arrival of the Cromwellian troops and the castle and its grounds were surrendered. The O'Briens never returned to Bunratty but later they built a beautiful residence at Dromoland Castle, now a luxury 5 star hotel.