Beautiful Bunratty Castle
When travelling through Ireland, your best option is to rent a car at the car hire agencies found in all major airports. This allows you to visit historical sites that may be considered out of the way, but whose architectural features and cultural significance make it a “must-see” for tourists.
Bunratty Castle is a perfect example. This ancient structure was restored in the 1950’s by Percy le Clerc. It was then decorated with Lord Gort's collection of medieval furniture and tapestries. When visiting the castle, tourists can experience what it may have looked like in medieval times, when lords and ladies dined in its halls.
This is now one of Ireland's main tourist attractions and certainly worth the car trip. Bunratty Castle was constructed from 1450 to 1467 by the MacNamara or MacConmara family, who then passed it through marriage to the O'Briens. The site is quite impressive: four square towers, rising from each corner, linked by a broad arch rising to the top storey. Its entrance leads into an awe-inspiring great hall. Here, the Earls of Thomond held their great celebrations and issued their powerful decrees.
Across Bunratty Castle’s three stories are several rooms, and no less than 15 privies. The fourth Earl remodelled the towers’ upper rooms, and some of the vaulting still survives. This is one of the earliest remaining examples of the use of brick. The plaster used in the hall, chapel and south solar is the oldest example of stucco in Ireland.
At one point in its history, the castle was considered one of the most beautiful in the country, and in 1646 Archbishop Rinuccini documented the glory of its ponds, gardens, interiors and 3,000 head of deer. Your car travel to Bunratty Castle will take you eight miles west of Limerick on the airport road (T11). To secure a vehicle to visit Bunratty Castle, you can set up a hire car at Limerick or any major city or airport in Ireland.