Wonderful, Whimsical Updates at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

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Wonderful, whimsical updates at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, a favorite of tourists and locals for over 50 years, just got a facelift! Now, there’s not a lot you can do to a nearly 600-year-old castle that is already regarded as the most complete and authentically restored and furnished castle in all of Ireland. But you can do quite a bit around it!

If you’ve visited Bunratty in the past you’re in for a wonderful surprise when you return! And if you’ve not visited before…  be sure it’s on your County Clare itinerary!

Other Bunratty Articles:  

Visiting Bunratty Castle –  Irish Night at Bunratty Castle
Bunratty Meadows , B&B near Bunratty Castle

Updates at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

Welcome

Welcome to Bunratty Castle & Folk Park! Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com
The new, airy breezeway entrance to Bunratty Castle & Folk Park!

The entrance to Bunratty Castle & Folk Park used to be quite dark, and small. At busy times the area would easily become crowded and a bit stifling.

A completely new layout made the reception area larger, with more queues for ticket purchases and an easier flow through.

But before you reach that there are a couple of great additions!

Shop

Bunratty Mead- and other tasty Irish liquors- at Bunratty Castle gift shop. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com
Bunratty Mead- and other tasty Irish liquors

The new, airy breezeway entrance opens directly into a brand new gift shop filled with wonderful handcrafted items like woolens, pottery, and handblown glass. In the back corner a large nook is dedicated to stunning jewelry. Of course you’ll still find trinkets and Bunratty gifts (including a wonderful selection of Bunratty Mead!) I would estimate that the shop is roughly 3 times the size of the previous gift shop and displays are beautifully designed and well spaced- no more cramped shopping!

Eat

New food hall is one of the big updates at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com
Fresh & local at the new Bunratty Castle Food Hall.

In the past the folk park really only had one place to eat- MacNamara and Sons Pub at the top of the village street. The fully licensed pub serves a fabulous pint and tasty pub food but was often so busy that we would skip by. A new food hall, just past the gift shop, highlights the ‘new flavors’ of Ireland – hyper local, fresh foods- served deli-style. Meats, salads, cheeses, and lovely desserts are even drawing locals in for lunch! (The food hall lies before the admissions area.)

The Updates don’t end once you have paid your admission…  In addition to freshly painted buildings and more interactive costumed characters you will find these new & noteworthy additions:

More Animals

Friendly pony at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com
This friendly pony enjoyed having his nose scratched.

Bunratty Folk Park has always had a fair number of animals – but there were more this year. Piglets raced through pens, sheep and goats contentedly grazed while the new lambs and kids frolicked in fields, ponies approached for a scratch on the head, while new coops for duck and chickens kept the birds under control but interactive.

New Playground

Fun playground at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com
So much to do in the new playground!

My girls loved the old ‘castle’ playground when they were little, but that came down a few years ago. The new playground has been completed and features fun areas for little kids as well as bigger ones. The castle theme remains on the ‘big kids’ area, while a ‘pirate ship’ draws the adventurous small tykes. A variety of swings and a kiddie controlled zipline round out the playscape.

Fairy Forest

Fairies sleep here! Fairy Forest at Bunratty Folk Park. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com
Shhh!! Fairies sleep here!

I have saved my favorite addition for last. Along an oft-missed trail near a back edge of the folk park the faeries have created a hamlet in the trees. Kids (and adults, if you wish to bend) may enter this enchanted land through the reedy tunnel.

Reedy tunnel entrance to the fairy forest at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com
Reedy tunnel entrance to the fairy forest

I’m a huge fan of faerie gardens and this is, quite honestly, one of the best I’ve encountered. Some fairy houses are easy to spot, others are more hidden. You’ll easily spend half an hour (or more!) discovering all the fairy secrets!

Whimsical fairy forest at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com
A few of my favorite faerie dwellings.

What do you think of the updates at Bunratty Castle? Will you be visiting soon?

 

 

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. They were just about finished these additions on our visit in May. Can’t wait to see the end results in 2018.

      It’s a pretty impressive change- I know you’ll enjoy it!

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