For centuries the Vereker family had extensive ties throughout the mid-west region of Ireland. Colonel Vereker, on being created the first Viscount Gort in 1816 had taken the name of his title from the town of Gort on the Galway/Clare border. The family seat was located just outside Gort at Lough Cutra Castle until the ravages of the famine had forced the sale of the estate in 1849. Several of the Verekers were prominent in the life of Limerick particularly in the mid- nineteenth century with no less than six of the family serving a total of ten terms as Mayors of Limerick City.
With guidance and advice from the internationally renowned experts on medieval art, John and Putzel Hunt, Gort re-acquired the family estate at Lough Cutra in 1952 and shortly afterwards purchased Bunratty Castle. In conjunction with the Office of Public Works and Bord Failte and again working closely with John Hunt as his main advisor, Lord Gort set about restoring the National Monument that was Bunratty Castle as a place where the public could enjoy a sense of life in the castle as it was in medieval times.
In parallel with the work of restoring the castle, Gort and Hunt also set about filling its rooms with, the furniture, artworks and everyday objects of the era when the castle was the home of the McNamara and O'Brien chieftains. In the setting at Bunratty Castle this extensive collection, sourced mainly from continental Europe, now constitutes the most extensive showcase anywhere in Ireland of the late medieval and early renaissance period.