Bunratty Castle is one of Ireland’s most famous buildings and a top tourist attraction. The main structure was built between 1425 and 1467 by the powerful O’Brien family who later became the Earls of Thomond. The first settlers here were however Vikings in 970. This location was carefully chosen as it sits on a bend on the Ratty River. ‘Bun Raite’ actually means ‘the bottom of the Ratty River’ in Irish. It is also sits near the River Shannon (which can be seen from the top of the castle) which divides the west of the island (Connacht) from the east and south (Leinster and Munster). The castle is entered by a drawbridge and the main section has 3 floors. One of these is the Great hall. Each of the 4 towers have 6 stories reached by spiral stairwells. The castle also has a set of dungeons and has been furnished with tapestries and artifacts from various eras of the castle’s history.