Historical Origin And Design Inspiration
Bunratty Castle (Irish: Caislean Bhun Raithe, meaning Castle at the Mouth of the Ratty) is a large tower house in County Clare, Ireland. The name Bunratty, Bun Raite (or possibly, Bun na Raite) in Irish, means the 'bottom' or end of the 'Ratty' river. This river, alongside the castle, flows into the nearby Shannon estuary.
The first dwellings to occupy the site, in 970 were part of a Viking trading camp.In 1270, Robert De Muscegros built the first defensive fortress, known as a motte and bailey castle. These lands were later granted to Thomas de Clare, who built the first stone structure on the site. At this time Bunratty town had grown to a population of 1,000.
In 1318, Thomas's son Richard de Clare, Steward of Forest of Essex (new holder of the castle) was killed in the Battle of Dysert O'Dea during the Irish Bruce Wars 1315-1318. The castle and town were completely destroyed by the victorious O'Briens.
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