The Village Street denotes village life in 19th century Ireland. Fairs and markets at the Village gave the farmers and the rural craftsmen an opportunity of selling their products for cash, while shops provided for the rural dwellers needs. In the early 18th century the country people provided for most of their own needs in food, clothing and supplies and bought only luxuries such as sugar, salt, tea ….The village houses and shops have been chosen from many different areas, to form a collection of typical of 19th century urban Irish buildings.
Visit the School, Doctor’s house, Pawnbrokers, Pub, Drapery, Printworks, Grocery, Hardware shop, Pottery and a Post Office.
Bunratty Folk Park is a living reconstruction of the homes and environment of Ireland of over a century ago. Rural farmhouses, village shops and streets are recreated and furnished as they would have appeared at that time.
In the Folk Park there is an extensive array of vernacular buildings; indicative of all of the social strata, from the poorest one roomed dwelling to Bunratty House a fine example of a Georgian residence for the gentry (built 1804 home of the Studdarts, the last family to occupy Bunratty Castle).
There is so much to explore inside the castle. Now, when I'm looking the plan of the castle I managed to miss South Solar...described what comprised the guests apartments....and the dungeon...because there was just too many people around there.
The stairs are very narrow and difficult to climb when so many tourists doing the same up and down but still it was an interesting experience.
I like details but there was not allowed to take pictures inside the castle with flash and my digital camera is just a regular "soapbox" so, I managed to take only some OK quality pics and some good quality pics because at first I did'nt noticed that restriction sign.
As it mentioned before 15th and 16th century furnishing and interrior design is used...it was like walking around antique shop...or rather going back in time...It would have been even greater experience when visiting it alone...if no other people ( tourists ) inside you would easely forgot the year 2011.
The present castle, last of a series on the same site was built around 1425. During the 16th and 17th centuries it was an important stronghold of the O'Briens kings and later earls of Thomond or North Munster. It is furnished with mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings in the style of the period of the Great Earl. The main block has three floors, each consisting of a single great room, or hall. The four towers have a six stories each. The castle is entered by a drawbridge to the Main Guard. (Text from leaflet).
Before I visited Bunratty I past it by via bus to Limerick. It was an impressive view from bus window and I thought by myself that I will come to take a closer look. I never knew that there was whole Open Air Museum around it. It was a great and nice surprise when I started to look up more material about this castle from the internet before I decided to come. When finally in here...yes...it is tourist trap but it sure is a nice one and worth a visit.
A simple two-bedroomed home of a North Kerry salmon fisherman. Much of a timber would have salvaged from the sea. The floor is od rammed clay.
I liked the colour of the house and smell of smoke inside. Most of the Irish traditional houses have open fireplace...
Nice details around the house, wanted to photograph everything...
The blacksmith made tools for many other craftworkers and tradesman. The hand operated bellows kept the fire blazing. He was one of the most important and recpected members of the community.
(Description taken from the leaflet).
Well taking look inside, it felt abandoned. But if you have a good imagination (luckily I have one) you can imagine a warm and romantic image of a well built man in a work, forging a magic sword ;-)
The house of a fishing-farming family in West Clare. The thatch is roped down to protect it against the Atlantic gales. ( This was written in a leaflet ).
What I remember of that house was open fireplace inside and that I liked how two buildings make up a perfect match. And I remeber to be irritated as I tried to took a picture in a way that other people wont be in them...it took a while as there are a lot of tourists...like myself ;-).
I really felt myself as Japanese tourist ( it is not insult ) in there because I wanted to photograph everything.
Went into Bunratty castle and folk park (sort of a small Williamsburg). We toured the castle first as the day was a little rainy.
Again, our son looked for toilets - we found one inside and evidence of more from the outside. This castle was much newer than Trim. It was built in the 15th century. The folk park was nice. Our son enjoyed watching them make apple pies (we probably watched for 30 minutes). He also enjoyed the water wheel. The man there gave him some wheat seeds for the ducks.
When we finally decided to go out to the Castle and Folk Park because the rain wasn't going to stop and it wasn't raining very hard, we went to the Folk part first because the lady at the entrance said that there were two coach (bus) loads of tourists in there.
Finally we cut short our park visit so as to have time for the castle, we went in the exit by mistake and went up the down staircase (photo 3). When we got to the Great Hall, I sat down and sent my grandson up the stairs to the four towers (photo 5) and then came down the entrance stairs. We didn't see the dungeons. I thought we would see them when we came back for the banquet but we went to Knappogue instead.
There were tapestries and artifacts from various eras in the castle's history (none or few are belonging to the castle).
Open Year Round (Closed Good Friday & Dec 24th.,25th.,26th)
Jan, Feb, Mar, Nov, Dec
9.30 - 17.30 (Last Admission to Folk Park 16.15)
Apr, May, Sept, Oct
9.00 - 17.30 (Last Admission to Folk Park 16.15)
June – Aug
9.00 – 18.00 (Last Admission to Folk Park 17.15)
Last Admission to the Castle - 16.00 Year round
Admission Prices - As per 01 April 2007-31 March 2008
The park has both a vertical and a horizontal mill. The Vertical Mill is a classic stone example of a rural undershot watermill. Photos 2, 3 and 5 show the inside of the Vertical mill.
Picture 4 shows the Horizontal Mill and the mill pond. This is a working corn mill based on findings of an excavation in Mashangla Co. Cork. This type of mill is described in detail in Irish Law texts of a 1000 years ago. Such mills were still in use up to the middle of this century. We didn't go in that mill.
Additional photos are in one of the travelogues.
This school was originally built at Belvoir in East Clare in the early 19th Century. It is typical of the type of school that would have been in existence around the year 1900.
The teacher role played and smacked her pointer down on the desk for emphasis. She also fed the fire in the fireplace with peat (photo 2).
There was something written on the blackboard about hedgerow schools (photo 4) and a model of a hedgerow school (photo 5). I couldn't read all of it because part of it was erased. Apparently education (whether this was in religion or in Gaelic or was any kind of education at all) was illlegal for Irish Catholic. The Hedgerow schols were out in the fields in lean-tos under the Hedgerows where they could hide from the English.
This house which was originally built in 1898 and was the home of the Hughes Brothers who produced HB ice cream - a household name in Ireland. They started a dairy industry in the 1800’s.
We ran out of time and only got to see this from the outside, but I understand that:
Hazelbrook House offers the visitor the unique opportunity to learn about the evolution of Ice cream making from the domestic dairy to the modern day production plant. The House features the history of the industrious Hughes Brothers family.
This little church is an original Church of Ireland building, which was moved stone by stone from where it had been originally built in 1824 in Ardcroney, Co. Tipperary, and rebuilt in the Folk Park. It was opened to the public in 1998.
Great for families and anyone with an interest in the history of how irish used to live centries ago. This is the only main attraction in Bunratty.
The folk park is designed like an old irish village with thatched houses, mills, etc and people dressed in clothing from that century. They also have animals which the kids enjoy.
You can walk around the castle also. I advise you wear comfortable shoes also as you will be walking up narrow steep staircases. The castle is furnished to how it was in medieval times so interesting to look at how they lived in it.
If you have a spare evening I suggest going to the medieval banquet in the castle for dinner. You actually eat in the dining hall of the castle and you are met by castle servants etc (They try to keep it medieval for you). They have harpists who play for you and also the servants sing old traditional irish songs during dinner. Its quite entertaining. Although there was no irish dancing which was a downside. The food was exceptional. Plenty to go around the table and you have unlimited wine and water. I think it cost around 50euro pp so its not cheap but its a great night out and something different. There is also an 'Irish night' which you can choose also but thats held in a barn with traditional irish entertainment. Alot of people actually prefer this to the banquet. And theres irish dancing at this.