Ballybunion. Castle in Ireland, Europe

Ballybunion

Castle in Ireland, Europe

Ballybunion Photo © Francis Foley

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Ballybunion

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ballybunion
ballybunion. Photo by Flashbaxxx
Ballybunion Castle, also known as ‘Castle Bale Bonan’, lies on the outskirts of the small coastal town of Ballybunion. The castle itself is pretty much a ruin but has an interesting back history. Most will visit the area to see the town of Ballybunion and getting to see the Ballybunion Castle is a bonus. The town is mostly a seaside resort consisting of the famous Ballybunion Golf Club founded in 1893. The club has hosted the Murphys Irish Open in 2000 and Palmer Cup in 2004.

The most popular time to visit the town is during the summer months when it is pleasant to walk along the sandy beaches, surf in the Atlantic, visit the pubs and hike the local cliffs for a lovely view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Ballybunion Castle

The ruins of Ballybunion Castle now only consist of a single wall on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Despite its lack of structure it is still an interesting study in the history of the Bunyan family. The Bunyan family is the namesake of Ballybunion, the village, and are the ones that first lived in Ballybunion castle. The castle itself was constructed by the Fitzmaurices in the 1500's. The Fitzmaurices were lords of Kerry and sent the Bunyan family to live in the castle as caretakers. Unfortunately, the castle was demolished by Lord Kerry in 1582. To add insult to injury, in 1583, William Bunyan's lands were confiscated due to his active role in the Desmond Rebellion. Centuries later, in 1783, what remained of Ballybunion Castle came to belong to Richard Hare and in the 1900's it was passed over to the local improvements committee. Eventually in the 1960's, the castle was sold to the Kerry Co. Council and they are still responsible for its care and upkeep. In 1998, the castle was struck by lightning and the single remaining tower was destroyed, leaving the last remaining wall.

Ballybunion Castle
Ballybunion Railway Photo by Al Gengler

Getting There

Ballybunion is located in County Kerry on the far western coast. Getting to the small village is only an hour and 20 minutes drive from Limerick on the N69. how about public transportation for tourists?

Nearby Sights

While in Ballybunion, be sure to visit the local cliffs, Tintean Theater, the Listowel, and Ballybunion Railway, and the two local beaches lovingly referred to as the "Men's Beach" and the "Ladies Beach." Despite the monikers, the men's and women's beaches are no longer segregated and anyone can visit either beach. The ladies beach does have some coastal caves that are popular to investigate at low tide. There is also a nice pathway that takes about 20 minutes to walk and features an ocean blowhole and a view of sea stacks. If walking along the shore or taking a cliff walk doesn't sound appealing, there are local hot seaweed baths and ice cream shops situated along the shore.

Cliff caves at Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
Cliff caves at Ballybunion, Co. Kerry. Photo by Val Dennison


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Author: ashley.minor. Last updated: Aug 16, 2014

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