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
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.