Well this was my third trip to Ireland so it was time to take a dive for the #1 Tourist Trap of all Tourist Traps...Bunratty castle and the Mideval Banquet, the night before our flight out of Shannon. I think ours was tough to take because it was off season and we had a bare-bones crew. The silliness got to me with the performance and I would have much rather preffered to hear more of the lovely voices of the singers . They shuffled us in and out and about like cattle, so if you do not like close crowds....beware. Also, some folk do get a bit rude and rowdy from drunkeness (the meade drink of honey and wine).
Unique Suggestions: I will say it was kinda of fun which I am almost embarrassed to say....but I could have done without this experience. And the cost was not quite worth it. The food was okay but uncomfortable and I know that was supposed to be part of the charm ( we ate with our hands and a knife only).
I did enjoy the decorations and authenticateness of the Tudor Style furnishings.
Fun Alternatives: The Bunratty Folk Park alone was a nice time.....historical and interesting. But leave the Banquet alone, unless there is nothing else to do. I think next time I would take refuge in an out of the way pub with some original local folk.
People dressed up in medieval clothing wine and dine you as you sit along long banquet hall tables. The food was barely palatable. The worse part though was that the performers looked like they'd rather be anywhere else but there. Painful for all...
Unique Suggestions: Admire the castle itself. It was built by the O'Brien's of Thomond in the 15th century.
As you go through the entrance look up for the Murder Hole, where boiling water or pitch was poured onto the heads of attackers. (or tourists who don't tip well)
Bunratty Castle is 16 kms from Limerick City.
Fun Alternatives: While the rest of your group is getting tortured at the castle, steal away to the great pub next door called Durty Nelly's!