While many of Ireland’s Medieval castles have been reduced to crumbling ruins, Bunratty Castle is a rare exception—having been masterfully restored in 1954 to its original, powerful beauty. The castle was built in 1425, with the area’s first settlers being Viking traders in the mid-late 10th century. Today, Bunratty Castle is considered as Ireland’s most complete and authentic castle, where the tapestries, furniture, and regal surroundings create a mood that can instantly transport visitors back to the 16th century. At night, the Bunratty Castle Medieval banquet offers an historic reenactment of what it would be like to dine in the towering stone castle—and feel like a member of Irish nobility enjoying an evening meal. At the neighboring Bunratty Folk Village, skip ahead to the 18th century and experience what life must have been like in the rural Shannon countryside. Featuring 30 buildings on 26 acres, this living village has traditional shops from a hardware store to a one-room schoolhouse and a home for the village doctor. There’s even fully licensed pub, where you can stop and have an Irish pint like it’s 1783.
The Bunratty Castle and Folk Village is open year round, from 9am-5:30pm. The last admission to the castle is 4pm, and last admission to the folk village is 4:15 pm. Admission is approximately $18 for adults and $11 for children, and the village is located 8 minutes from Shannon and 15 minutes from Limerick.