Bunratty Folk Park

Posting pictures has been causing problems with posting the blog. You will find pics at the end of the post. Sorry about that. 

We regretfully left Doolin on the way to Bunratty, our last stop in Ireland. It was a fairly short drive and we decided to stop at the Avarest B&B to let them know we were in town and would check-in later. We met Deirdre who said our rooms were ready and we could leave our bags there if we cared to, so we dropped the bags and headed over to Bunratty Castle.

Yea, that’s right, we decided to do the full tourist thing the last day, visiting the Bunratty Folk Park and having dinner at the castle. The park is anchored on one end by the restored Bunratty Castle and on the other by the georgian manor house. The rest of the 23 buildings are also authentic, having been moved from their original locations to the folk park. There is even a church that was moved stone by stone to its new location from Ardcroney. I will let the pictures of the park speak for themselves.

The castle, built in 1425, is the last of a series built on the same site. The main block of the castle has three floors, all of which are great rooms. Those great rooms are decorated with old tapestries and period furniture with elaborate carvings. The towers on each corner have six floors which have the kitchen, bedrooms, chapels, and etc. An interesting tidbit, Admiral Sir William Penn was besieged at Bunratty in 1646. It is believed that his infant son, William Penn the founder of Pennsylvania, was at the castle during the siege. The castle, which was falling into ruin, was purchased in 1954 by the 7th Lord Gort who restored the castle over a period of time and opened it to the public. It was willed to the state upon his death.

The dinner at the castle was great fun. Is it touristy and a little kitschy? Absolutly, but still a very good time. The entertainment is well done with great humor, the food is good and the mead is tasty. You are received on the second floor in the Great Hall for a cup of mead and entertainment by very good violin and harp music in addition to other frivolity. You procede downstairs to the Main Guard for the banquet. As in medieval times your sole eating utensil is a dagger, actually just a sharp knife. The entertainment continues during and after the meal with choral singing accompanied by violin and harp. It was all very enjoyable. I have read reviews online that greatly disparaged the dinners, but I think that those who can’t have a good time there would also probably drown in a drizzle. 

 

 

Small fisher / farming house

Small fisher / farming house

These houses have open hearth fireplaces, making the place quite smokey.

These houses have open hearth fireplaces, making the place quite smokey.

A wealthy farmer's house from the Shannon area.  It originally stood on the site of the main runway at Shannon Airport.

A wealthy farmer's house from the Shannon area. It originally stood on the site of the main runway at Shannon Airport.

Playing with macro.  A flower in front of the farmhouse.

Playing with macro. A flower in front of the farmhouse.

Interior of wealthy farmer's house.

Interior of wealthy farmer's house.

One of many horse drawn implements at the park.

One of many horse drawn implements at the park.

The manor house, believed to be from minor gentry.

The manor house, believed to be from minor gentry.

Ardcroney Church moved stone by stone to this location.

Ardcroney Church moved stone by stone to this location.

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle

Irish elk, stood about 7 feet tall with a 12 foot antler spread.  Antlers found well preserved in peat bogs.

Irish elk, stood about 7 feet tall with a 12 foot antler spread. Antlers found well preserved in peat bogs.

Many elaborate carved furniture pieces from the 1500s.  Sorry, no flash allowed.

Many elaborate carved furniture pieces from the 1500s. Sorry, no flash allowed.

A carved table leg, very ornate.

A carved table leg, very ornate.

One of many ancient tapestries in the castle.

One of many ancient tapestries in the castle.

Some of the players at the banquet, actually a very good singing group.

Some of the players at the banquet, actually a very good singing group.

More of the players.  We had a great time!

More of the players. We had a great time!

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