castle banquet near Shannon

Jul 8th, 2005, 06:35 AM
  #1  
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castle banquet near Shannon

Family would like to do one of the dinner banquets on the last night in Ireland. Of the three (Dunguaire, Bunratty, Knappogue) which would you select? Would love to hear from someone that has been to one or more.
thanks!
chip is offline  
Jul 8th, 2005, 12:55 PM
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I have been to all the castle banquets and to Bunratty Traditional Irish Night. I will list them in order that I liked them:

1. Bunratty Traditional Irish Night
2. Dunguaire Castle
3. Bunratty Castle
4. Knappogue Castle

Just my opinion.
IrishEyes is offline  
Jul 9th, 2005, 06:24 AM
  #3  
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if you wouldn't mind elaborating a little, it would be appreciated...
are you judging more on food, entertainment, atmosphere, or combo.
thanks!
chip is offline  
Jul 9th, 2005, 01:02 PM
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Chip, I based my opinion on a combo of everything.

1. Bunratty Traditional Irish Night:

Best meal (I liked the salmon). There was a choice of three different entrees. Very good entertainment with audience joining in and some going on stage to dance. Less crowded than the banquets with separate chairs. At the banquets you sit on a bench, packed to the gills with other tourists.

Menu: http://www.shannonheritage.com/Traditional.htm

2. Dunguaire Castle: Much smaller and intimate than the other castle banquets. It seats around 50 people as opposed to hundreds at the others. Food was good but none of the entertainments has gourmet food. When you consider how many meals they must serve in such a short time you will understand why. But you don't go for the food. The entertainment was very good especially considering that there was only a harpist and three other performers (who also double as wait-staff). Very talented performers at all the venues.

Menu: http://www.shannonheritage.com/Dunguaire_Ban.htm

3. Bunratty Castle:

The grand-daddy of all the castle banquets. Since it is so very popular it can be extremely crowded. I was there on a night when the staff could hardly control the crowd (a bus load of drunk Frenchmen who were very rowdy and obnoxious). I have also been there on wonderful evenings where everything went perfectly. I heard from a B&B owner that one night the crowd so badly insulted the entertainers that they walked out and canceled the after-dinner entertainment. Since it is a favorite of the tour buses it is always extremely crowded and you never know what will happen.

Menu: http://www.shannonheritage.com/Bunratty_Ban.htm

4. Knappogue Castle:

I didn't like the entertainment quiet as well at this banquet.

Menu: http://www.shannonheritage.com/Knappogue_Ban.htm

At Bunratty & Dunguaire you have to go up tiny spiral stairs. Knappogue & Traditional Irish Night don't have stairs.

If I were taking my kids I would opt for either Dunguaire (which is closer to Galway than Shannon) or Bunratty Traditional Irish Night. This page reviews all the entertainments: http://www.irelandyes.com/dining.html

You will need reservations. Which one are you choosing?

IrishEyes is offline  
Jul 9th, 2005, 01:12 PM
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We were told that the same company ran all three. We stopped in the tourist board upon arrival in Shannon and picked up their approved B&B directory and Farm & Breakfast directory. They made reservations for our first night's stay (F&B in the Burren) and a castle banquent for that night.
starrsville is offline  
Jul 9th, 2005, 01:13 PM
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...tourist board or bureau in the Shannon airport.

Ours was a "follow your nose" kind of trip (with months or researching prior) and was the most delightful experience ever! Can't wait to go back!
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Jul 10th, 2005, 08:20 AM
  #7  
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IrishEyes,
thank you for the great response!
the shannon heritage site is really nice.
I am forwarding info to others in the group to make a choice...
I am pretty sure they want a medievel castle banquet...Dunguaire does seem to be the nicest.

just wondering...
if we went to it on our last night, should we still stay closer to shannon in Bunratty or near Dunguaire (if so where? any suggestions?)

I don't imagine that it is a long drive, is it?

thanks to all for your input...it really helps!
chip is offline  
Jul 10th, 2005, 02:48 PM
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Chip, What time is your flight and what month are you going to be in Ireland?
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Aug 25th, 2005, 07:44 PM
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ttt for exactly the same question.
IrishEyes is offline  
Aug 27th, 2005, 07:57 PM
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Our family of 29 of all ages did the Bunratty Castle Banquet on our final night July 9, and everyone enjoyed it a great deal, except the just-turned-three year old who was a little frightened by the crowd and noise, but managed to sleep thru most of it. Yes, it was crowded. The kids enjoyed eating with their hands and stabbing the chicken with their daggers - the food was plentiful and very good (far better than we had ever anticipated) and the costumed castle lads and lassies provided excellent service and fun as well. Everyone liked the castle itself- the atmosphere certainly enhanced the evening -and the children had fun playing on the cannons and stocks in the exit courtyard. Entertainment was well done -harp, violin, songs, some humor, no dances - but nothing spectacular - undoubtedly the Traditional Irish night would be much more lively - just an entirely different venue. We were quite satisfied with our choice of the Bunratty Castle Banquet (actually it was by default, not choice - with so many of us, we were on a waiting list at both Bunratty events!) Husband and I attended Knappogue some years ago, and had not been impressed at that time,as I recall.
We stayed at the Bunratty Castle Hotel across the street and that was also a good choice, a great hotel, within walking distance of all the Bunratty attractions. Everyone said they'd stay there again.
Oh, I misread the date of the original post- so perhaps this is too late for you, Chip. Sorry. Hope you had- or have- a grand trip!
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