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Visit the historic Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

March 10, 2011 - 2:28am
Bunratty Castle
Travelers who are taking a European vacation may want to consider making Limerick a prime destination, where they can explore the fascinating medieval fortress of Bunratty Castle. The 15th century structure overlooks the Ratty River and Shannon Estuary, and is home to a beautiful 19th-century folk park.

Built in 1425, the Irish house in County Clare did not receive restorations until the mid 1950s. Today, tourists are able to see an extensive collection of the finest medieval furniture that dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries, as well as artwork, tapestries and more from that time. The castle's furnishings allow guests to get a glimpse of the era's splendor.

Tourists will learn about Bunratty's storied history when they visit Limerick, such as the property's beginnings as a Viking trading camp in the late 10th century. There once stood another castle in its place in the 1300s to house the King of England, however, it was destroyed in the Irish Bruce Wars.

In 1954, the seventh Viscount Gort, Standish Vereker, purchased the property and began restorations to prevent it from being ruined. These days, it often holds novelty events, such as medieval banquets, as well as performances by the Bunratty Castle Entertainers, and it is considered an Irish National Monument.

Also on the property is the historic Folk Park, which is a popular area that locals enjoy visiting. The site is dotted with cottages and other buildings that are reminiscent of structures from the 1800s, complete with a reconstruction of a village square. Tourists will be able to find various charming shops and bakeries in the park, as well as a local pub. There are plenty of 19th century items on display as well, including tools, furniture and other artifacts.

Travelers should make sure to check out the Folk Park's museum, which captures the daily occurrences of Irish people from all social classes with a number of intriguing exhibits showing aspects of their work and home lives. This facility remains quite popular with tourists and locals alike, and is often a destination for students on school field trips.

The castle is especially beautiful to visit in the nighttime, as it becomes illuminated and is mirrored in the reflection of the estuary's calm waters.