Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquet

When I decided to come to Ireland, my brother and sister-in-law bought me a ticket to the Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquet for Christmas. I hadn’t planned on going to anything like this – I’ve attended SCA feasts before, and the novelty had worn off – but they said that they had had a really good time when they’d gone, and thought that I would, too.

I’m really glad they got me the ticket, because I’m just back from a very fun evening that I would have missed out on. So, thanks, folks!

I got a few pictures.

The whole folk park is kind of spooky at night, but the castle stands out very dramatically.
The mead reception is held in the Earl’s Hall, with some entertainment to start. I tried the mead, and I can see how people develop a fondness for it. We were also served the bite of friendship: a little piece of bread dipped in salt. By eating it, we had accepted the Earl’s hospitality and were thus under his protection.
It is a medieval feast, and therefor madrigals must be sung. It is the law. They only sang one, though.
If empty beer bottles are dead soldiers, does that make empty mead cups dead vikings? Actually, I just thought the cups were very attractive pieces of pottery.
This is the company of singers, who double as serving staff, and triple as actors in the little events that go on throughout the evening. They are all very good.

I didn’t get any pictures of the food, because you eat with just a knife, and I really didn’t want to spend the rest of the evening cleaning gravy off my camera. But the food was very good. I sat with an Australian family who were very nice.

The actors/singers/servers were amazing. They were friendly and upbeat, kept everyone smiling, nudged people into the mood to participate, and still got the food coming in and dishes going out with great efficiency. Their performances were also very good, with fiddle, harp, and singing. They crowned an Earl and his lady to preside over the feast, and at one point threw someone in the dungeon, which was kind of fun.

Yes, the whole evening was very touristy, but y’know what? Touristy gets a bad rap. These were talented people showing off a bit of their history and culture for us, and they worked hard and did a good job. It’s easy to turn your nose up at things like this, but I really think you’re missing out if you don’t relax and have fun with it.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening, and I thank Al, Daph, Ryan, and Keira again for this great present.

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