Shannon Heritage has announced plans for a multimillion euro revamp of Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, to include the country's first 4-D 270 degree visitor experience.
A planning application has been lodged with Clare County Council for the works to take place, which will be the single largest investment in the tourist attraction since it opened its doors in 1963. The works are subject to planning approval and funding from Fáilte Ireland.
It is anticipated work will commence in early 2020 with a view to completion in early 2021.
A new building will be constructed to facilitate the 4-D 270 degree visitor experience. Visitors will be transported through the ages in a sensory, immersive and historically accurate experience.
All 25 houses in the 19th century folk park and the 15th century castle at the site will get an uplift in interpretation as well as improved landscaping and new creative play elements and navigation. Historical content is being sourced from both the National Folklore Archive in UCD and the Glucksman Library at the University of Limerick.
Additionally, in order to support the dispersion of visitors around the folk park and increase dwell times for tourists in Co. Clare, Ireland’s largest butterfly house is planned for the Regency Walled Garden at the opposite end of the park to the castle.
Outlining the project, Niall O’Callaghan, Managing Director of Shannon Heritage, said: “It is a hugely exciting transformational project which will significantly enhance the storytelling, visitor interpretation and overall immersive experience of 800 years of history. Our staff and visitor feedback have been central to the vision of the ‘new’ Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and this, we believe, will create a major attraction of scale on the Wild Atlantic Way.”
Niall O’Callaghan added: “With just under 400,000 visitors a year, we are building on this success with the support of our sister company, Shannon Commercial Properties, with an ambition to reaffirm Bunratty Castle and Folk Park status as a ‘must visit’ destination.”
Commenting on the project, Mary Considine, Deputy CEO, Shannon Group, said: “Since 2014 Shannon Group has been on a journey, one that has seen us invest almost €85m across our Group companies at Shannon Airport, Shannon Commercial Properties and Shannon Heritage. We are committed to further investment and as our Shannon Heritage portfolio grows, we want to ensure that we continue to offer customers the best experience possible.”