Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

By | 2017-08-30T17:01:08+00:00 August 30th, 2017|Clare|0 Comments

A precious part of Ireland’s past comes of life, transporting visitors back to Ireland’s Medieval Past. Visit with Kings of Thomond and become part of Bunratty’s exceptional history and life.

Contact Information

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
Co. Clare
+353 (0) 61 360 788


Adult: €11.55
Student (Student ID required): €10.45
Child (6-16): €8.95
Child (under 5): Free
Family 2 adults & 2 children): €33.50

Opening Hours

Closeted Dec 24th – 26th
Opens Daily 9am – 5:30pm

Important Information on Bunratty Castle

  • Bunratty Castle can be viewed by Guided Tours, which are available in English, German and French.
  • An informative Information Booklet is available in English, French, German, Polish, Dutch, Spanish and Italian.
  • A visit to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park approximately takes 2.5 hours.
  • Last admission is at 4:15pm
  • Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquet and Traditional Irish Nights.
  • Reservations are required for both events.
  • Traditional Irish Nights, begin in April and end in October. They take place nightly at 1900.
  • The banquets take place daily at 5:30pm & 8:45pm.
  • Reservations are required to attend the Medieval Banquet. For equities about the Medieval Banquet please contact Bunratty Castle Banquet at +353 (0)61 360788

Sinead’s Thoughts on Bunratty Castle.

Our trip to Bunratty Castle was a once in a lifetime experience. Bunratty Castle is an amazing structure that transports you back in time to Medieval Ireland and its former era of glory with its importance and history obvious at every twist and turn. Bunratty Castle is possibly one of Ireland’s most famous Castles, with its important place in Irelands past, it has now part of our living history. Bunratty brings our past to life with its fabulous Medieval Banquet, Bunratty Folk Park transports anyone who visits into Irelands past. As you walk to the Castle you will be struck by its size and how this structure must have dominated the Medieval Landscape of this beautiful area of Ireland. The Castle dates from the year 1425 and the reconstruction we see today was carried out in 1956, This Castle is known as a Tower House Keep. You will also see the Bunratty Collection that contains over 450 medieval artefacts. Don’t forget to visit Bunratty’s Fairy Village.

sinead murphy at bunratty castle

According to local folklore and tradition with evidence taken from the Annals of the Four Masters it is thought that the first settlement in the area was a Viking seasonal or trading settlement. It is widely thought that this Viking settlement may have been destroyed by the legendry Irish King Brian Boru who has captured the imaginations of people throughout the world, Brian Boru was to become the High King of Ireland and engraved himself into out History books.

In 1250 Robert De Muscegros, was Chartered the area of land around Bunratty by King Henry III, the son of King John I, this Castle was a Norman style Motte and Bailey structure. Thomas De Clare a relative of the famed Norman Strongbow (Richard De Clare) was later Chartered the same area of land by King Henry III in 1276; he commissioned the building of the first stone structure in the area and was close to where Bunratty now stands.

Bunratty as you see it now is to have been possibly the 4th structure to be constructed in the area and was commissioned by the McNamara family in the year 1425. In or around 1500 Bunratty fell to the ownership of the O’Brien family the Famous Earls of Thomond. It was to become their main seat of power and most important residence. The last King of Thomond died in 1579 and the Castle was granted to his nephew, Connor O’Brien, It is thought that his son Donogh moved the family seat of power to Bunratty and made many improvements to the structure.

During the period in Irish history known as the Confederate Wars, Lord Bamabas O’Brien allowed Lord Forbes the Commander of English forces of the English Long Parliament to occupy Bunratty in 1646. Bamabas was non-committal to either side; Bunratty was of major strategic importance as it was on the main maritime trade route to Limerick

The Castle remained in the possession of the O’Brien family throughout many eras of war and social unrest. The last Earl of Thomond sold Bunratty and its surrounding areas of land in 1712 to Thomas Amory, who in turn sold the property to the Studdert Family who allowed this magnificent building to deteriorate and it fell into the state of disrepair.

Thankfully on 1956 Bunratty was bought and lovingly restored to its former glory by Viscount Gort V! The results of that refurbishment are what we see today. The Castle was again filled with magnificent works of art, tapestries and exquisite furniture that can be dated to 15th and the 16th Century.

The famous Bunratty banquets and Bunratty entertainers have been enthralling the minds of visitors since the 1960’s. Bunratty can also boast its outstanding Folk Park; the Bunratty Folk Village is a step back in time into Irelands past. Bunratty Folk Park is spread out over 26 acres and it features over 30 buildings, some of which have been saved from other part of Ireland and loving reconstructed in the Folk Park for us to enjoy today.

bunratty folk farm and area

Bunratty is home to a beautiful Gift Shop stocked full of treasures to remind you of your time at Bunratty Castle, items also include locally made items and crafts. There is also free parking and a beautiful traditional Tea Rooms, as well as a Pub and Restaurant. Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is also located beside the world famous Irish Pub Dirty Nelly’s which is a must for any visitor to the area. We would definitely recommend Bunratty Castle to anyone visiting Ireland. It is an authentic experience and you are completely transported back to Medieval Ireland, giving you a unique insight into our ancestors, the Kings of Thomond and our magnificent past.

About the Author:

Sinead is the head of our Historical and Cultural research team. Sinead studied Archaeology with modular Anthropology, and has Post Graduate qualifications in Heritage Management, including History, Museum Management and Religious Studies.

Leave A Comment