Medieval dinner/castle evening-thoughts?

Jan 13th, 2007, 07:39 AM
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Medieval dinner/castle evening-thoughts?

I keep seeing these medieval dinner.castle evening events such as Bunratty.. any thoughts on these events.. were they worth the money - is it something like "when in Hawaii go to a LUAU at least once" or in Ireland forget it... ? Having mixed thoughts and not seeing a lot on the Boards about it...
aprilmay is offline  
Jan 13th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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There used to be more questions about it and people, as usual, were divided as with other events and sights aimed at tourists. Some people love them, some hate them, some go for a nice evening and pay the money.

I went to the Bunratty one, it was fun, but I was in the mood that day.
The food was nice, the other guests were fun, there was a nice show with one particular soprano who was lovely. There were corny parts of bringing tourists on the stage to put on a funny hat and say a line, but it was a man from our table so we actually did think it was funny, he played along and was a good sport.

It was a cold evening outside and when we walked up to the gate we could feel the warmth inside and the hot cider was haneded to us and it was the beginning of a pleasant evening. Would I do it again, probably but I wouldn't drive out of my way, unless I was with someone who wanted to go.

Yes, it can be compared to going to a luau once, seeing Leaning Tower of Pisa once, gondola ride once, etc.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Jan 13th, 2007, 08:55 AM
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I should add I also went to one of these dinners at St. Katherine's Dock in London and could not wait to leave: bad entertainment, poor food, obnoxious tourists, etc.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Jan 13th, 2007, 11:44 AM
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Most of these are very poor - sort of revived vaudeville - rather than any sort f authentic expereience. IMHO a waste of time and money.

If you want a nice dinner go for one.

If you want to tour a castle - or stay in one - do it.

If you want to see some authentic entertainment - do it at a pub - or go to a venue the locals do.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 13th, 2007, 12:09 PM
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I'm with SeaUrchin. Go, it's fun, and you will enjoy it. We stayed our last night in Bunratty, toured the folk park, had lunch & a couple of pints at Mac's pub, and went to the Medieval Banquet. There are two shows -- we went to the late one.

Similar to going to Hawaii and to a Luau, it was fun, do it just once, and then move on. You'll enjoy it.
Budman is offline  
Jan 13th, 2007, 12:20 PM
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Hello aprilmay, a friend of mine did this a couple of years ago and although she didn't want to she did as her travelling companion wanted to. My friend said she ended up enjoying the evening..not something she would do again but she was glad that she experienced it.
LoveItaly is offline  
Jan 13th, 2007, 12:24 PM
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We went to something like this in Munich but I cannot remember the name. It was a dinner with a medival theme and menu. We were the only American family at the time and they used us as props. We were very dissapointed. They pointed and laughed and one of the guests at a very large table kissed my husband while they all laughed. It was uncomfortable because we did not understand German and get the jokes. This was our only negative experience and it was not inexpensive. I had been warned on this board but wanted to go.
milliebz is offline  
Jan 13th, 2007, 12:36 PM
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We did a similar thing in Paris. Wanted to go to a cabaret show, and someone mentioned one of the oldest/different cabaret shows in Paris called Au Lapin Agile. It was in Montmartre, where we were staying, so we went. We walked in, were seated, and everything was in French. People seemed to be enjoying themselves, but we ended up walking out since we had no clue.

You won't have the language problem in Ireland.
Budman is offline  
Jan 13th, 2007, 12:56 PM
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I live in Ireland and I always presumed the Bunratty Banquet was a really tack tourist thing . I unexpectedly ended up with a group of friends who were going there last year and,I have to say, I was impressed.
The food was good, the entertainment was good (good standard of traditional irish song and music) and there was a good atmosphere. The banquet hall is not very big. I enjoyed it very much. The only downside was some staged jokes that I had heard before, but others seemed to enjoy. The reception with a glass of mead, included a historical introduction to the castle. We went for a pint in the Folk Park afterwards and had a great evening. I would recommend it.
Padhraicin is offline  
Jan 14th, 2007, 05:10 AM
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Dia Duit Aprilmay,

Bunratty is only one of the Medieval Banquet Venues. I have heard mixed reviews. Some say that the other option at Bunratty in the Corn Barn is much better. I have yet to be at either. I have done the one at Knappogue Castle and found it more to my liking, as it was less vaudeville and more traditional seanchai (storyteller). I have also done the Dunguaire Banquet and also found it to have a less vaudeville feel, as it focuses more on the literary aspects of Ireland.

It is something to experience, as you say "like a Luau".

Slan Agus Beannacht,

Bit Devine
CowboyCraic is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 07:15 AM
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I've done both Bunratty and Dunguaire. I preferred Dunguaire as it was more intimate and I liked the feel of the room. The food was better but maybe it all has changed since my Bunratty trip. It is certainly geared towards tourists, but that does not make it bad. My understanding is that (as Padraig pointed out), many of the guests are Irish so it's not just for those that are from across the pond (one direction or the other). By the way, I belive one couple is usually selected as King and Queen for the evening.

wojazz3 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 08:28 AM
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Bunratty also has an alternative, a 'ceilidh in the corn barn' for the lower-brows. We went to it and it was fun! Yes, it was touristy, but we got a drink of mead or irish cream (our choice) a great meal of irish stew and potatoes, dessert, and salad. The entertainment was singing and step-dancing - the waiters/resses were the performers, and they were very nice.

GreenDragon is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 08:33 AM
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Why not have a proper dinner in a "normal" castle in Ireland.


Jan 15th, 2007, 10:32 AM
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Kinnitty looks pretty interesting. The food would be excellent and certainly not a theme night at either Dromoland or Waterford. The dress required would be a bit more than casual. It appears that they are no longer requiring coat and tie for the gentlemen. The last two are very nice castle hotels. By the way, Dromoland has some great rates in Jan and Feb if the nights are available. Usually week nights.

wojazz3 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 11:47 AM
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The folk park at Bunratty sounds like Sturbridge or Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, or is that a good comparison?

5alive is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 01:10 PM
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I visited Dunguaire against my wishes.The ladies insisted but I really enjoyed it.The food was excellant and the entertainment was very well done.
tune is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 09:21 PM
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Dunguaire sounds like it interests me a bit more.. I appreciate the feedback!!
aprilmay is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 09:28 PM
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It seems like the banquets are put on by the same company, so the shows are probably similar. Pick which one would be more convenient for you.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 09:30 PM
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If you enjoy the works of great poets, Dugaire is the banquet for you. THey may all be listed on the same website but each has its own flavor and its own pace.

Slan Go Foill,

Bit Devine
CowboyCraic is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 05:47 AM
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We also were undecided about this idea when we went to Ireland but ended up going to the show at the Corn Barn in Bunratty. It was out last night in Ireland before flying out of Shannon and we were truly happy that we went. Good food, great show and a wonderful way to end our trip. The castle dinner just seemed a bit too over the top cheezy so this was a nice compromise.
starfish1 is offline  

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