Dunguaire Castle's Medieval Banquet

Visit Dunguaire Castle for an entertaining medieval banquet.
By Rick Steves and Pat O'Connor

Kinvarra, a tiny town between Ballyvaughan and Galway (30 minutes from each), is waiting for something to happen in its minuscule harbor. It faces Dunguaire Castle, a four-story tower house from 1520 standing a few yards out in the bay.

The Dunguaire Castle medieval banquet is Kinvarra's most tourist-worthy sight. The 500-year-old Dunguaire Castle hosts a touristy but fun medieval banquet five nights a week. Warning: This company also operates banquets at Bunratty Castle (30 miles south), so be sure that you've made your reservation for the correct castle.

The evening is as intimate as 55 tourists gathered under one time-stained, barrel-vaulted ceiling can be. You get a decent four-course meal with wine (or mead if you ask sweetly), served amid an entertaining evening of Irish tales and folk songs. Remember that in medieval times, it was considered polite to flirt with wenches. It's a small and multitalented cast: One harpist and three singer/actors who serve the "lords and ladies" between tunes. The highlight is the 40-minute stage show — featuring songs and poems by local writers — that comes with dessert. The castle itself can be visited by day without taking in the evening banquet.

Pat O'Connor is the co-author of Rick Steves' Ireland guidebook