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Your thoughts on visiting Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

We are traveling to Ireland in June for 3 weeks and will have a car. During one week of the three, we will have a home base in Galway where our son and his wife will join us for a quick trip. We are thinking about several day trips to the north and a couple of day trips south. Our daughter in law's great grandmother came from Limerick so this is on our radar for an outing. I was also wondering about a half day or full day at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. Does this seem like a quality experience to a first time visitor to Ireland or is it kind of Disneyish?

My comparisons would be that we have gone to Warwick Castle where we liked exploring the grounds, especially on the day when we were there where they had people in costume doing reenactments. We've also been to open air living history museums in Germany and liked those. On the negative side we thought the canned entertainment/dinner nights like we experienced in Howth, Ireland (arranged for our students by a travel agent) seemed contrived and unauthentic.

That said, have any of you experienced some of the things Bunratty offers and do you recommend it to others traveling to Ireland and how much time would you allow for a visit?

I've looked at the Bunratty website and I'm leaning towards going but I'd like to hear from others who've gone. Our 1 week visitors will only have time for our Galway day trips, experiencing Galway itself and Dublin for a couple of days before their flight back to the US. We will continue to explore more of Ireland after they've gone.

Posted by
1172 posts

We spent about 2 hours at Bunratty and could have used another hour. This was with kids who really enjoyed the play area.
I think a half day would be enough

What else is on your list?

Posted by
1277 posts

I loved it. Went there on a bus trip. The folk park is pretty large....i loved seeing the livestock and various wheeled things (like a gypsy wagon) some of the cottages have coustumed reieactors, some dont. Very low key. I was able to get some closeup still life photos (like flowers in a pot in the window of a cotage) that are the ones that got the most complments in the album (go figure) i have a small plate that i bought in the shop where they were painting them by hand. We toured castle during the day.

on my second trip there (bus trip w mom) we could not do folk park, but evening show at castle was an optional excursion. I signed us up for that, and it was plenty hokey
I like their gift shop, lots of nice stuff at nice price points. A friend of mine on the first bus trip has been several times and refused to go in again, he spent the day in the pub !!! If the insiide of the castle is a seperate ticket, im not sure its worth it unless that is yr only castle option. My memory is that the rows and rows of banquet seating is about all there is to see, plus the sound equipment that they try to obscure w burlap

Posted by
3107 posts

Thanks for your insight regarding Castle/park visits. I think we'll keep it in our daytrip options for a marginal weather day, something other than driving to see the vistas and scenery.