Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park are a must see for anyone visiting Ireland. Not alone does it have the most complete and authentic Castle in Ireland, it’s also set on 26 acres of countryside, in which Bunratty Folk Park features over 30 buildings in a ‘living’ village and rural setting.
The site on which Bunratty Castle stands was in origin a Viking trading camp in 970. The present structure is the last of four castles to be built on the site.
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.
MacNamara and O’Briens
The powerful MacNamara family built the present structure around 1425 but by 1475 it had become the stronghold of the O’Briens, the largest clan in North Munster.
They ruled the territory of North Munster and lived in great splendour. The castle was surrounded by beautiful gardens and it was reputed to have a herd of 3,000 deer.
Bunratty Castle and its lands were granted to various Plantation families, the last of whom was the Studdart family.
They left the castle in 1804 (allowing it to fall into disrepair), to reside in the more comfortable and modern Bunratty House, which is open to the public in the grounds of the Folk Park.
Rural farmhouses, village shops and streets are recreated and furnished as they would have appeared at that time according to their social standing, from the poorest one roomed dwelling to Bunratty House a fine example of a Georgian residence built 1804 home of the Studdarts, the last family to occupy Bunratty Castle.
Animals & Pet farm
Meet rare breeds of native animals
Bunratty Folk Park is home to an array of rare breeds of native Irish animals.
Home to indigenous breeds of sheep, goats, cows, pigs, ponies, and poultry many of which would have been popular in the early 1900’s, the period on which the folk park is based upon.
The park is also home to a family of Irish Red Deer, a beautiful falabella pony, Frank, adopted rescue donkeys Millie & Tillie and Irish Wolfhounds Saoirse and Meabh.
Where fairies hide & pixies seek. Full of magic and fun, the interactive Fairy Trail is perfect for kids of all ages.
Encompasses the upper end of the folk park, this interactive fairy trail is a magical experience that gives visitors an insight into the enchanting world of fairies. Visit the Fairy University, Fairy Library, Fairy Travel Centre and more. Try a pair of fairy wings on for size and encounter fun sculptures, fairy houses and lots of other hidden gems.
Little visitors are invited to use the interactive booklet to solve clues and answer questions on their way around the trail.
A World of Adventure Awaits. The Viking playground is a firm favourite with little visitors!
Located just off the Village Street, the playground features …
An impressive 4 tower play castle which provides vantage views to the surrounding country landscape … just like the real Bunratty Castle!!!
- Rope Walks
- Belt Bridges
- A variety of Swings suitable for all ages
- 25m Zipline
- Picnic Benches
- Ice Cream Hut (operates in high season only)
Folk Park farmhouses
Window to the past, the folk park is home to a host of farmhouses for visitors to explore and enjoy, each one representing a different part of the Shannon region and showcasing the lifestyles of the different classes of Irish country life in the early 1900’s.
Regency walled garden
Don’t miss the beautiful walled garden at Bunratty House. It is a surviving part of the demesne which was originally formed around Bunratty Castle. The garden was built for the house c 1804. As walled gardens go it is small, just less than half an acre, this was due to the fact that a large garden would have existed within the demesne, located north of the castle.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is only 60 minutes from Corderry Farm
Time to go discover
This is an action-packed full day activity with so much to see and discover. Bunratty Castle also offers the opportunity to enjoy a Medieval Banquet with the Castle Singers. Enjoy Music, song and dance while you dine in the Great Hall of Bunratty Castle.