Bunratty (Bun Raite) Castle overlooks the River Shannon. The castle is in excellent condition and well worth the visit. Bunratty Castle is one of the finest surviving examples of an Irish tower house. Although it is hard to believe the castle has had a bloody and violent history. Its strategic position on the river Shannon made it the centre of many a battle, and it has it has been destroyed and re-built on at least eight occasions. Origonally, the Vikings built a fortified settlement at this spot, a former island surrounded by a moat. Then the Normans came: Thomas de Clare built the first stone structure on the site in the 1270’s.