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Bunratty Castle is one of Ireland's most popular tourist attractions which is in County Clare, southern Ireland. The castle sits with a series of cottages representing an early 19th century folk park. The individual cottages are a fasinating The name Bunratty, means the "bottom" or end of the "Ratty" river. This river, alongside the castle, flows into the nearby Shannon estuary. From the top of the castle, one can look over to the estuary and the airport.
The Bunratty Folk park gives you a glimpse into Irish life in the 19th century: This features reconstructions of historical cottages and buildings, recreating the general feel of the 19th century with a period style village main street. Old tools, furniture and artifacts are displayed, with the village kept alive by some inhabited shops, an old home bakery and peat fires in cottages. The Folk Park excels at showing life in all classes from around Ireland throughout recent history. In the village, you can see the school, post office, shops, and enjoy drinking at a working pub. Animals are a big attraction for kids, including two very large Irish wolfhounds.
This living museum is an incredible resource to learn about Irish history. From chickens wandering around to local women in costume, making apple pies, it's a glimpse into Irish life in the 19th century. The houses are furnished with period furniture - note the very small beds, the prized dishes, and how smoky the houses were from the peat fires. We learned that there is still a local thatcher that works on the roofs. From the blacksmith's forge to fishermen's cottages, from single story houses to double story houses of the more weathly folks, from the Golden Vale Farmhouse (from Limerick) - a house of a prosperous family - to the classical Georgian Bunratty House, you can learn of the various ways that the social classes lived and worked.
Today it is a major tourist attraction along with the castle as it sees thousands of people pass through its gates every year.