Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

The most complete and authentically restored and furnished castle in Ireland, a colorful folk park and the famous Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquets. This is one tourist attraction you are not going to want to miss!

Bunratty Castle, North Munster, is sited on an original Viking Trading Camp which dates back to around 970 and is the last of four castles to be built on the site. The present castle was built in 1425 by the McNamara family and remained in their possession until 1475. In the 17th Century the castle was the palace of the Earls of Thomond and was surrounded by gardens and a great deer park. The castle passed through many hands before falling into disrepair. In 1954, Lord Gort purchased the estate and returned it to its former glory. It is now the most complete and authentically restored and furnished castle in Ireland and it has been open to the public since 1960.

Bunratty Castle is a large tower house, a particular type of stone structure, built for defensive purposes as well as habitation. Tower houses appeared since the Middle Ages, especially in mountain or limited access areas, in order to command and defend strategic points with reduced forces. At the same time, they were also used as a noble's residence, around which a borough was often constructed.

Alongside the Castle is an extensive folk park, particularly popular with families, tourists and schools. The Folk Park is a colorful illustration of Irish life in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Buildings range from the landlord’s house to the smallest peasant cottage, along with an assortment of village shops, a smithy, two watermills and an excellent collection of old farm implements. There are live demonstrations of bread baking, weaving and pottery making. The 19th century walled garden has been re-created to grow fruit, vegetable and flowers as it did when it was the source of supply to Bunratty Castle.

The famous Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquets were first held in the early 1960s and the event has grown stronger ever since. This is a dinner experience not to be missed! Each night the Ladies of the Castle, aided and abetted by the Earl of Thomond’s Butler, welcome guests from the four corners of the globe to dine at The Earl’s Banquet at Bunratty Castle. The entertainment provided by the world renowned entertainers is a fitting compliment to a mead reception in the Great Hall of the castle, a four course traditional feast and of course good wine.

If it’s Medieval Ireland you are interested in, the Bunratty Medieval Banquet is not to be missed. You can add the Banquet onto any Celtic Tours package to Ireland for $89 PP, entertainment and 4 course meal included. Learn more about Celtic Tours Ireland Packages.

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