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Shannon, Ireland, has a long and interesting history but there’s far more substance to this Irish destination. Today’s music and Irish history merge at Bunratty Castle near Shannon.
Built in 1425, when buildings were a bit draftier than they are now, it is today a completely restored medieval fortress that has seen its share of sieges.
The inside of the castle is an interactive walk through Ireland’s history as you stroll along the beautiful, handmade tapestries that adorn the walls.
Many of the furnishings are original to this medieval building, and you get a true sense of how people lived back then and what they had to do to survive.
Autumn features an annual event, the bringing in of the harvest. See threshing done as it was in the old days, watch bread baking and butter making, and say hello to the schoolmaster before handing him the traditional sod of turf to contribute to the schoolroom fire. Storytellers wander the 26-acre grounds and music and dancing is the order of the day, between each harvest-time chore. There are more than 30 buildings in the grounds, and most of them offer live demonstrations by people re-enacting in period costume. See the blacksmith hard at work, and take part in the tug-of-wars that are held throughout the day. Children are encouraged to help with many of the tasks, so this is a perfect destination when travelling with young ones. They’ll also learn something if they’re not careful!