Bunratty Castle is familiar to visitors to western Ireland. Located just south of the Shannon Airport, you pass the majestic castle walls on your way to Limerick and destinations south. Famous for their Medieval Banquets, which are fabulous but not a great option with young children, Bunratty Castle also offers a less expensive and livelier evening of fun and entertainment in their Traditional Irish Night.
Irish Night at Bunratty Castle
Irish Night at Bunratty Castle brings to life the traditional entertainments of Ireland’s people- lively music, haunting song, engaging storytelling and energetic dance. Held in the Corn Barn from April through October, this is the perfect end to an afternoon spent at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.
Traditional Irish Night Food
Entering the Corn Barn I was offered a choice of Mead or Irish Cream – the perfect welcome from what had turned into a drizzly evening. Not of an age to enjoy Mead, the girls were offered a cup of juice before we were led to our seats.
Long tables fill the barn space, some on the main level before the stage and others on risers behind and to the side. Sitting on a riser stage left, we put the girls right next to the railing to be sure they could see. As we quickly learned, our server was also part of the entertainment. The girls were thrilled to learn he was one of the dancers!
The menu for Irish Night also sticks to tradition with Poached Irish Salmon or Irish Stew as you main dish. For the kids they offer chicken goujons (strips) and chips. Breads and salad begin the meal, with a beautiful apple pie for dessert. Following this the Barm Brack is brought to the table.
Best described as an edible fortune telling game, Barm Brack is a bread with raisins and sultanas. Baked inside are objects that are said to tell the fortune of the person who receives the slice containing them. In the Bunratty Barm Brack are rings- said to portend marriage within the year. Which usually draws laughter from the tables as a happily married man will try to give the ring away quickly, before the fortune takes hold, or a young girl, years from marriage, happily slips the ring she found on her finger and waves it excitedly in the air.
Traditional Irish Night Craic
Craic – pronounced ‘crack’- is the Irish word for fun and entertainment in good company. After the company (that’s you) is seated, the fear an ti (man of the house) welcomes you with a prayer in Irish. Truly beautiful to hear, even if you don’t speak a word of the language.
The best traditions of 19th century Ireland are played out on the stage. Music, dance, song and storytelling come together as they did more than a century ago when tenant farmers would gather after harvest to celebrate with a céilí.
If you find yourself within driving distance of Bunratty Castle, Traditional Irish Night is a fun way to end your day.
|Reservations are required for Traditional Irish Night and can be purchased online from Shannon Heritage.
If you plan to visit Bunratty Castle & Folk Park in the afternoon before Irish Night, inquire about remaining inside the park between closing and when the doors open at 7pm. While you can’t explore the castle or inside buildings, it is fun to wander the grounds when they are quiet.
Doors open at 7pm and the evening lasts approximately 2 hours.