August 29, 2012

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle (Irish: Caisleán Bhun Raithe, meaning "Castle at the Mouth of the Ratty") is a large tower house in County Clare, Ireland. It lies in the centre of Bunratty village, by the N18 road between Limerick and Ennis, near Shannon Town and its airport. The name Bunratty, Bun Raite (or possibly, Bun na Raite) in Irish, means the 'bottom' or end of the 'Ratty' river. This river, alongside the castle, flows into the nearby Shannon estuary. From the top of the castle, one can look over to the estuary and the airport.

Name: Bunratty Castle
Location: Bunratty village

County: Clare 
Country: Ireland

Material: Brick 
Built: 1475

Restored    1954
Condition: restored and opened to the public 

The first dwellings to occupy the site, in 970 were part of a Viking trading camp. In 1250, Norman lord Robert de Muscegros built here the first defensive fortifications, i.e., the earthen embankment with the installed powerful wooden tower. The first stone castle was built later, when the lot was acquired by Thomas De Clare. At this time Bunratty town had grown to a population of 1,000.

In 1318, Thomas's son Richard de Clare, Steward of Forest of Essex (new holder of the castle) was killed in the Battle of Dysert O'Dea during the Irish Bruce Wars (1315-1318). The castle and town were completely destroyed by the victorious O'Briens. In 1332, soon after being restored for the King of England, the castle was once again razed by the Irish Chieftains of Thomond under the O' Briens and the MacNamaras. In 1353, after lying in ruins for 21 years, it was rebuilt by Sir Thomas Rokeby, but was almost immediately attacked again and was passed to Irish hands.
The present structure was completed by the MacNamara family around 1425 and was briefly occupied by the Siodhachain (Sheehan) clan. In 1475 the castle became the base fortress of the powerful clan of Munster O'Braens. The head of the clan was the supreme ruler of the North Munster and the castle became the match his status after purchasing the shine. Around the castle were broken beautiful gardens where large herds of grazing deer.
The King of England, Henry VIII gave the earldom to the head  of Clan O'Braens. He became known as the Earl of Thomond, and brought an oath of allegiance to the king. In 1646,  in the castle was stationed  British garrison of parliamentary forces. During the federal War, the castle was besieged and O'Brien had to leave it for good.
The castle and grounds have changed a number of different owners (of Plantation families). The last owner of the castle was the family Studdart. They left the castle in 1804 and moved to a more convenient and comfortable home Bunratty (today's visitors can visit the Folklore park in it). Then lock gradually began to fall into disrepair.
For some time in the mid Nineteenth century the castle was used as a Barracks by the Royal Irish Constabulary, the colonial era police force.
Bunratty was to return to its former splendor when Viscount Lord Gort purchased it in 1954. The extensive restoration work began in 1945 with the help of the Office of Public Works, the Irish Tourist Board and Shannon Development. It was then opened to the public in 1960 as a National Monument and is open to visitors year round. It is the most complete and authentically restored and furnished castle in Ireland.
This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.
Alongside the castle is an extensive folk park, particularly popular with families, tourists and schools. A glimpse into Irish life in the 19th century: This features reconstructions of historical cottages and buildings, recreating the general feel of the 19th century with a period style village main street. Old tools, furniture and artifacts are displayed, with the village kept alive by some inhabited shops, an old home bakery and peat fires in cottages. The Folk Park excels at showing life in all classes from around Ireland throughout recent history. In the village, you can see the school, post office, shops, and enjoy drinking at a working pub. Animals (and Irish gypsy carts!) are a big attraction for kids, including 2 very large Irish wolfhounds. 
Today it is a major tourist attraction along with the castle as it sees thousands of people pass through its gates every year.

 In the preparation of this article, were partially used materials of website:,,, 


  1. very good article, learn some interesting facts

  2. очень познавательная статья.грамотно и красиво написана!

  3. Хорошая статья, узнал очень много интересных фактов.

  4. Очень интересная статья. Теперь хотелось бы в живую побывать в таком замке

  5. Excite and interesting blog. I like to visit it sometimes, learn new about ancient structure and castles. Recommended this)

  6. такие красивые замки, как бы я хотел туда съездить...