Bunratty, Ireland, Travel Guide

Bunratty, Ireland, Travel Guide
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park make up the themed village of Bunratty located 10 miles west of Limerick City. The land on which the castle and village now stand started as a Viking trading camp in 970 A.D. An enjoyable and educational experience for any age, this visit will give you a sense that you've been transported to the 16th century. Bring your appetite as well as your curiosity to this site of medieval banquets not to be missed.

Bunratty Castle

Look up as you walk under the entry of Bunratty Castle. Those three holes you spot are murder holes, which were used by the castle's defenders to pour boiling oil onto attackers below. The original castle, built in 1425, is a safe and exciting place to immerse yourself in medieval tradition, thanks to a restoration in 1954. Medieval banquets are held at the castle every night at 5:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. They cost about $76 per person. Though these banquets are not entirely authentic, they are memorable. Irish ladies in 15th century gowns will lead you into the candlelit great hall, after eating friendship bread and drinking mead (made of fermented honey, apple juice, clover and heather). Bibs are optional but more often worn than not in the great hall where you will dine---no feast---on four courses with your fingers. Dinner, of course, would not be complete without several ballads on the harp. Try to book as far in advance as you can for this feast of the ages.

Bunratty Castle
Bunratty, Co. Clare, Ireland
011 (+353) 061 711-200
http://www.shannonheritage.com

Bunratty Folk Park

Today, you can walk through a re-created 19th century village where there are authentic examples of rural homes from the era. As you meander through the old-time architecture, you will come across several in-costume demonstrations, including a working blacksmith's forge, flour milling, bread and candle making, and thatching (as on roofs). If you are interested in the agriculture of the 19th century, there is a museum of agricultural machinery. Children will no doubt enjoy the lively farm animals. At 5:45 p.m. and 9 p.m. from May through September, the Traditional Irish Night is held. It includes a banquet of Irish stew, soda bread, apple pie, and Irish song and dance. This banquet costs about $63.50 per person and can be an alternative to the banquet of Bunratty Castle if you fail to make a reservation in time there.

Bunratty Folk Park
Bunratty, Co. Clare, Ireland
011 (+353) 061 711-200
http://www.shannonheritage.com

Pull a Pint at Durty Nelly's

Beside the entrance to the Folk Park is Durty Nelly's, an old-world pub with decor that has inspired pubs around the world. This is the original Durty Nelly's. It was established in 1620. There is a cover charge of about $20.50 to get in, and the pub is open daily. Pull your own pint of Guinness, keep the glass and get a photo of you pulling your own pint for about $30. There are always tourists in this pub, but it is something of legend that you ought not to miss if you are visiting the little area of Bunratty. It is 10 miles from Limerick City and six miles from Shannon Airport.

Durty Nelly's
Bunratty, Co. Clare, Ireland
011 (+353) 061 364-861
http://www.durtynellys.ie/index.php

Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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