Bunratty Castle and Folk Village between Limerick and Ennis is run by Shannon Heritage (Caisleán Bhun Raithe, meaning "Castle at the Mouth of the Ratty"). It dates back to 1240 when the first defensive fortress was built. The village consists of reconstructed buildings including a school and doctor's surgery with a 19th century feel and the smell of peat fires waft through the air as you stroll through the period style main street towards the castle. We spent an afternoon here before settling down for a medieval banquet in the castle main hall. We were greeted with a goblet of honey mead and salted bread and some traditional entertainment with a harpist and violinist. Dinner was spicey parsnip soup, ribs, chicken and loads of potatoes and veg. We toasted the honorary King & Queen, booed as helpless volunteer Cameron was sent to the dungeon and raised our glasses for a round of the Wild Rover as we clapped hands and stomped our feet to the no, nay nevers! The evening concluded with the magnificent sound of bagpipes and the earthy, autumnal smell of peat fires burning - beautiful!