The name Bunratty, Bun Raite (or possibly, Bun na Raite) in Irish, means ”river basin” of the ‘Ratty’ river. This river, alongside the Bunratty Castle, flows into the nearby Shannon Estuary. We visited for some hours and really enjoyed its genuin feel.
The first recorded settlement at the site may have been a Norsemen settlement/trading camp reported in the Annals of the Four Masters. in 977. But several castles were built – and lost – here.
The fourth castle, the present structure, was built around 1425. In 1956, the castle was purchased and restored by the 7th Viscount Gort, with assistance from the Office of Public Works. He reroofed the castle and saved it from ruin. The castle was opened to the public in 1960, and with its genuin 16th-17th century furniture, tapestries and works of art it has become a great tourist attraction.