OK. I know that I said places close to Cork, and Bunratty was a 2 hour drive for us from near Youghal. But the trip was worth it.
Bunratty Castle is a great place to visit.
If you’re going, make sure that you are going to make a full day out of it, especially if you’re bringing kids.
If you want to explore their website, or book in, then the website is Here.
Obviously one of the big draws is the castle itself. Hard to believe that the interior of the castle has been effectively re-built since 1960. Be warned, there are a lot of spiral staircases to deal with, so it isn’t really suitable for anyone infirm or in need of special access.
Some of the rooms in the castle really are on a magnificent scale, and it’s best if you can get into them without a tour group (although, if you’re with a group, you’ll get a good history of the place) One of the best presented rooms is known as the ‘South Solar’, and if you have the map of the grounds, it’s Number 14 on the map of the castle. As it’s on one of the towers, you could miss it if you only climb one or two of the turrets!
After the castle, another high point has to be the village street. You have the post-office, the school, the doctor and (being Ireland) the pub. The street on its own is worth an hour of your time, and take the time to sit down and just relax. It is nice.
There are many other places to visit on the grounds. The HB house, Bunratty house, the walled garden, the old farm equipment, the animals, the old-style farmhouses and the church (at this I am still missing out on lots and lots!)
One of the aspects I found really interesting the first time I went to Bunratty is the fact that the old houses are generally taken from somewhere else, dismantled & rebuilt.
The map you get is good, but the key to enjoying Bunratty is to take the time to soak it in. Explore, go off the beaten path. Personally I feel that if you don’t get all the way around then that’s not important – the key is to enjoy the time that you do spend.
I didn’t yet mention the banquets. These are a great night out. I worked on them years ago, and the food was excellent, with plenty of mead and wine on tap. If you’re interested in this, then you can find out more here and book here.