After another filling breakfast (one where I didn’t accidentally order fish with my meal), we were off to Bunratty Castle. We budgeted about 3 hours, but it could have easily taken up the entire day plus the night. Bunratty hosts a medieval banquet that looked like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the times and distance from our B&B made it a non-viable option. Next time I’d like to stay a little closer and go back for the meal.
Bunratty is operated by the Shannon Heritage, which also operates Malahide Castle. Having also visited this on a previous trip, I wasn’t sure how similar the castles would be. I’m glad we decided to visit, since they were very different. Malahide Castle was a residence until the 1970s, so it was much more modern. Bunratty was more of what I imagined a medieval castle would be like.
We spent about 45 minutes exploring the castle. It was somewhat crowded with some guided tour groups, but not unmanageable. The castle was very tall and narrow compared to some other more sprawling castles we’d visited. The stairways were equally tall and narrow. This is probably what made it seem more crowded. When a tour of 40 people went up or down, there was a long wait to squeeze in.
Bunratty also has a folk park with many variations of Irish homes throughout the years. It was really interesting to see the different styles, and how primitive some were even into the latter 20th century. The thatched roofs reminded us a lot of the Icelandic turf houses.
The folk park was large and immersive. Like Malahide, there was also a large playground with a zip line. This playground completed my daughters’ vacation. Sport was upset we couldn’t work another trip to Malahide in our itinerary. But it was not the castle but zip line she wanted. She got her wish!
We had some tea and snacks at the small cafe and browsed the shops. Dirty Nelly’s pub was right next to the castle and we stopped so my husband could have a pint. Some of us wanted to eat, but my husband wanted to move on to the Cliffs of Moher. So we settled for snacks to hold us over.
It took us a little longer than we expected to make it to the Cliffs of Moher. There also weren’t a lot of food options, so we were really hungry during our visit. This didn’t take away from the beauty of the cliffs, but it would have been better to plan and eat somthing on the way. Another lesson learned on our trip. I am known for hoarding food on vacation, so I did have some snacks to pass out. They just didn’t completely satisfy everyone.
The Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher were insanely windy. It was not super cold, but the wind made it very chilly. It was so windy at some points it was difficult to walk and talk. We walked both sides but avoided the areas that were no longer part of the Cliffs of Moher site. Lots of people were ignoring the signs, but it was so windy I didn’t want to chance it. Fortunately, everyone agreed the views from the official walkway were beautiful enough.
After the cliffs, we made our way to Galway and our next B&B. My husband was getting very nervous at this point since we were running late and traffic was building. It isn’t usually important, but this particular B&B host asks that guest arrive by a certain time (maybe it was 6 pm?). We were going to be cutting it very close.
We made it not too late, put our things down and headed right for dinner. We hadn’t eaten a meal since breakfast and we were hungry! We had some trouble finding a restaurant with open tables, but finally found King’s Head. It was very old inside, which made for a nice ambiance. The menu featured mushy peas as a side, so my mom was very happy.
Stomachs full and feet aching, we found one more Murphy’s Ice Cream and then called it a night. It was a busy but fulfilling day, and a lot of fun!