Bunratty was a great home base for exploring central Ireland. The town is situated directly off the N18 motorway, about halfway between Shannon and Limerick. The proximity to the motorway makes it a good starting point for day trips. The town is home to the Bunratty Castle & Folk Center, a handful of restaurants/pubs, a gas station, and a number of B&Bs.
Things to See & Do
Located in the heart of Bunratty. Visit website for additional details.
2) Day Trip – Cliffs of Moher & Eastern Coast (Clare)
(Distance: ~45mins from Bunratty)
Located on the eastern coast of Ireland are the Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs are a tourist attraction and are quite beautiful. One can walk along the coast in either dierction from the Vistor’s Center for varied views of the Cliffs. Weather can change quickly, pack rain gear! From the Cliffs drive north and explore the coastline and little citites. (Could be combined with a visit to Galway.)
3) Day Trip – Galway
(Distance: ~1 hour from Bunratty)
A larger (more industrial) city located on the Esst coast of Ireland. Many day trips can be made from Galway, including to the Cliffs of Moher, and a boat trip to the Aran Islands. The city has a decent cathedral and has a number of pedestrian streets lined with shops, restaurants and buskers. We found a fantastic french cafe & crepe shop called Java’s Creperie & Cafe. We would highly recommend their tasty crepes; Note they accept cash only.
4) Day Trip – Blarney Castle & Stone (Cork)
(Distance: ~1.5 hours from Bunratty)
The Blarney Castle is home to the famous Blarney Stone. Work you way through the castle to the top, where you will have the opportunity kiss the stone. A nice gentleman will support you while you lay down and lean backwards to kiss the stone. (Or you can pass like we did … due to a germaphobia!) The grounds of the castle are beautiful. There is a lot to explore (caves, gardens, trees.) Find the most photographed tree on the property.
5) Day Trip – Ring of Kerry (Kerry)
(Distance: ~1.5 hours from Bunratty)
Making this day trip from Bunratty is doable, but makes for a VERY long day of driving. Recommend staying in a town along the ring to help reduce your driving time. This route is well marked, just follow signs. We went counter-clockwise (with the buses), as reocmmended by the locals, and had no issues! There are countless places to stop and see along the way and snap pictures of the scenic views. Some of our favorites were off the Skeilligs Ring (turn off the Ring of Kerry to head towards Portmagee & Valentia Island.
- Skelligs Cliffs Lookout: Follow the signs from Portmagee to the best cliffs. Then continue up the hill for some wonderful views.
- St Finian’s Bay: Quit cove with beautiful views. Great location for a picnic.
- Skelligs Chocolate Factory: Offers free tastings with a great viiew over St. Finian’ls Bay.
- Derrynane Beach: A beautiful sandy beach with rock formations. Located just after Waterville, turn off main road and follow signs to the Derrynane House and Beach.
Top rated item to see is Skelling Michael. Boats leave from Portmagee, Ballinskellig & Darrynane. Limited seating is available. Book in advance. (Leaves @ 10am returns @3pm)
1) Durty Nelly’s
Located directly at the base of the Bunratty Castle, this establishment has history dating back to 1620. Serves up a good pint of Guiness, some tasty food, and has very friendly staff. (Serves food later than any other establishment in town.)
2) The Creamery
Located across the street from the Bunratty Castle, the Creamery is one of the more affordable options in town.
Bunratty is home to a significant number of B&B options. We enjoyed our stay at one of the local B&Bs that we found through Booking.com.
Bunratty Grove Guesthouse
This house is located on the Low road, about a mile and a half from the Bunratty Castle & Folk Center. The property has nine rooms at a modest price. The rooms were clean and had an ensuite bathroom. A full irish breakfast was served each morning in the dining area. The wireless internet connection was dependable. Our host Joe, was very friendly and helpful. We would definitely recommend this B&B.