The most complete and authentic Castle in Ireland

The site on which Bunratty Castle stands was in origin a Viking trading camp in 970. The present structure is the last of four castles to be built on the site.

Early History

Robert De Muscegros, a Norman, built the first defensive fortress (an earthen mound with a strong wooden tower on top) in 1250.

His lands were later granted to Thomas De Clare who built the first stone castle on the site. About this time Bunratty became a large town of 1,000 inhabitants.


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The powerful MacNamara family built the present structure around 1425 but by 1475 it had became the stronghold of the O'Briens, the largest clan in North Munster.

They ruled the territory of North Munster and lived in great splendor. The castle was surrounded by beautiful gardens and it was reputed to have a herd of 3,000 deer.


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MacNamaras and O'Briens

Plantation Families

Bunratty Castle and its lands were granted to various Plantation families, the last of whom was the Studdart family.

They left the castle in 1804 (allowing it to fall into disrepair), to reside in the more comfortable and modern Bunratty House, which is open to the public in the grounds of the Folk Park.


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Membership

Shannon Heritage is constantly looking at ways to enhance our customer experiences with value adding products and services.

We are delighted to offer our customers an Annual Membership programme that offers many benefits to users. 

Both cards offer special admission rates to all Shannon Heritage day visitor attractions and evening entertainments in Counties: Clare, Limerick, Galway and Dublin. 

Members can also avail of discounts on all purchases at Shannon Heritage operated Tea Rooms and Gift Shops.


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