This Saturday the foreign exchange students from all around Ennis and Gort came together and traveled to Bunratty Castle. Located in County Clare between Limerick and Ennis, the castle is a National Monument of Ireland and major tourist attraction that is open to the public. It was built in 1425 and restored in 1956. The name Bunratty, Bun Raite in irish means the “bottom” or “end of the Ratty” river.
Bunratty Castle is made completely out of stone and is actually the forth structure to be built on the site. The three previous structures were destroyed over the centuries until the current castle was built under the MacNamara family. Maccon Sioda MacNamara was the creator, but died before the castle was completed so the building was finished under his son Sean Finn. The castle has exchanged hands throughout history and was even used as a barrack by the Royal Irish Constabulary in the mid-19th century. In 1956, Bunratty castle was bought by the 7th Viscount Gort and resorted.
Visiting the castle was a wonderful experience. We got there nice and early to get a private tour of the inside. Due to the art and tapestries that dated back to the 1600s, the castle’s temperature is under constant control. The main hall had many pieces of history within it, from elk antlers to swords on the wall. I was able to climb the tiny, steep staircases to two of the towers and I was able to see the breathtaking views. After seeing what the castle had to offer, everyone walked around the village that was located behind the tower. It was an adorable little town with tiny houses.
After spending the entire day at the castle and the town, I was tired and ready to go home. I had an amazing day at the monument and learned a lot about the other exchange students. I even met a girl from Chicago who is staying for five months just like me. I was surprised how happy I was to hear the midwest accent. After being surrounded by Irish accents and my host mom’s sort of New Yorker accent, I jumped at the opportunity to hear the Midwestern accent from someone. Everyone, at least those who will not be leaving after three months, will be getting back together for Christmas shopping in Cork city.