*Bunratty Castle & Folk Park. Photograph: Paschal Brooks

MAKING Bunratty  “a world-class attraction” is the vision of East Clare Tourism.

General Manager of East Clare Tourism, Stephen Hanley put forward the case for billing Bunratty among the best in the world and outlining the new additions since the Shannon Heritage sites were transferred to Clare County Council in May 2023.

A medieval quarter in front of the castle opened on the May Bank Holiday which saw craftspeople and TikTok sensations in attendance. “It will enhance the whole animation element of the whole experience,” he remarked of such events.

Speaking at a sitting of the Rural Development SPC, he outlined that there will be licences submitted to allow for jaunting cars in Bunratty. An outside restaurant that can cater for 150 people is also planned and is set to open this year according to Hanley. “The new car park will be an extension of the car park and it will open up to camper van bays”.

Works on the footpaths and the whole attractiveness are part of efforts “to get Bunratty to be a world-class attraction”.

He said, “our objective is to deliver a five star experience in Bunratty and its surrounds”.

Issuing a brief update on Inis Cealtra, he said it is “a case of watching this space, it will be an exceptional project,” he pledged. “We are intent on delivering world class attractions, Clare already has a lot of them, my home county of Kerry doesn’t have an international airport, there is a motorway serving each side of it or cities on each side, Clare is awash”.

Hanley added, “We’re really hoping to enhance the world class visitor experience”. He admitted, “We were very stuck in the mud on our opening and closing times, all of that mindset has been changed, there will need to be an evening requirement”.

Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) said the work undertaken since the transfer of the sites has been “an amazing process”. He said the “wider picture” must be factored into the equation where camper vans are concerned. There has been plenty positive feedback on the work undertaken in Bunratty, he noted, “it is like day and night is what has been said to me”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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