Bunratty Castle and Folk Park:
14 Best Things to Know and Do

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is a perfect way to experience medieval Ireland and is one of the most popular things to see on our virtual tour. The Castle is located in Southwest Ireland, County Clare.  It s nearly three hours away by car from the Dublin Airport, but the route is straightforward and takes you through incredible scenery.  

Irish Expressions: Beautiful Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.  Image of main structure and castle grounds.

From Dublin Airport, head onto the M7 for the majority of the drive before taking the E20 and then the exit leading to the town and the castle of Bunratty.  

The journey from Shannon airport is even simpler and only a 15 minute drive: Take N19 north from the airport to N18 and follow the signs to old Bunratty road.  Then take the exit to Bunratty.

14 Fun Things to Know
About Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

Here are some fun facts about this amazing Irish landmark.  Hopefully they will entice you to pay a visit in person!  But if that is not possible, you can always use them to impress your friends with your knowledge of one of the most-visited attractions in Ireland.

  1. Acclaimed 15th Century Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, found in a rural setting in County Clare, is one of the most complete examples of a medieval castle fortress in all of Ireland.
  2. All of the furnishings in the interior of the authentic castle date back to the 15th and 16th centuries, letting you relive Bunratty Castle history on your tour.
  3. There's even an included folk park, where you can visit a traditional pub, post office, doctor's house or school.
  4. The 13th century stone castle's exterior is stunning, but it is what lies within that makes it such an appealing spot in Ireland.  The great hall is an imposing space containing, among many other things, ancient works of art, a fine collection of medieval furniture and the antlers of a species of deer that predate the arrival of humans in Ireland!
  5. The name Bunratty is derived from the castle's location. Directly translated, the Irish words Bun Raite mean mouth of the Ratty River, which happens to flow right from the castle to the Shannon Estuary less than one mile away.
  6. The site where Bunratty is located has a long and storied history. As far back as the 10th century, there was a Norse trading settlement where the castle is currently situated. 
  7. The first Bunratty Castle was constructed from timber circa 1250 by Robert de Muscegros. For reasons not exactly known, that castle didn't last for more than a few decades. 
  8. A second castle was constructed in 1276 by a descendant of Strongbow. This castle was made from stone and had a single tower. This castle, too, didn't last long. 
  9. Fortunately, the current Castle was erected around 1425. This acclaimed 15th-century castle became a stronghold for several Irish families for centuries.
  10. If you want to experience medieval life, Bunratty Castle & Folk Park is a great place to do just that. The present structure has been open to the public since 1962.
  11. One of the most thrilling ways to see the castle is through the Bunratty Castle medieval banquet. You can sip a glass of mead, dine on a multi course meal of traditional cuisine and watch Bunratty Castle entertainers just like the residents did in centuries past.
  12. You'll also want to check out the beautiful Walled Garden on the castle grounds. Since 1804, the traditional Victorian large garden has provided the castle with fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables.
  13. The 19th century Bunratty Folk Park Experience will be a highlight of your visit to the castle. Spread out over 26 acres, the impressive park boasts 30 unique structures that showcase the history of Bunratty Castle, with an Irish village including village shops, village houses, a hardware shop and many different areas to observe medieval living.
  14. You'll be able to buy a drink from the pub MacNamara and Sons on Village Street, chat with a costumed Royal Irish Constabulary or watch farmers in action. This is a fully immersive experience that visitors will remember for a lifetime.

You can find more information about the incomparable Bunratty Castle & Folk Park at the official website here.

Irish Expressions: Bunratty Castle & Folk Park.  Image of statue inset in walled garden.

That Was Fun!  Where Can I See More?

Great question! As you can see, exploring the castles of Ireland offers many opportunities for enjoying an Irish experience and expressing your personal Irish side!

For more information of this kind, you might pay a visit to our section on Ireland Sightseeing here!

Want More Irish Castles?

It is probably obvious - at Irish Expressions, we love Irish castles!  The Emerald Isle is dotted with hundreds of these incredible structures.  

Sharing pictures and stories about them gives us a deeper sense of connection with Ireland, wherever in the world we happen to be!

We have captured the most amazing pictures and descriptions of Irish castles in an e-book we call "An Illustrated Guide to Irish Castles and Abbeys."

This fun, free guide is available to you to download.  Scroll to the bottom of this page and enter your email to get instant access!