Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
HERITAGE HOT SPOTS: What is it?A medieval castle, built in its present form around 1425, on the river Shannon in Co Clare. Occupied by powerful clans, it was destroyed and rebuilt at least three times before it became a visitor centre, in the 1950s. The folk park next to the castle has reconstructed farmhouses, shops, a post office and a pub.
The park offers a nostalgic trip back to 1950s Ireland. Actors in traditional clothing make butter, shoe horses and bake bread. The castle has also been holding medieval-style banquets for the past half-century.
A street in the folk park is decorated with fairy lights and holly, and Santa is in residence until December 23rd.
A troupe of elves will be wandering about, creating mischief, while visitors pass through Christmas-themed shops on their way to visit Santa. Children can also hear tales of Christmas past and watch puppet shows. The Santa Claus experience costs €25 per child and €13 per adult. There are evening rates for entry to the Christmas-themed street (€15 for two adults and four children, €7 for one adult and one child, from 5pm until 8pm).
There are also Christmas at the Castle evenings, with a three-course dinner and performances for €35 per person. Booking is advised for all Christmas events.
How do I get there?
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is just off the N18 between Shannon and Limerick. It is open daily (except December 24th, 25th and 26th) from 9am to 5.30pm. Admission costs €12 for adults (€15 from March to October); €9 for children; €10 for students; and €9.45 for senior citizens. Call 061-360788 or see shannonheritage.com.