Ireland's best example of a completely restored, furnished castle, the Bunratty Castle is an enthralling sight on the banks of the serpentine Ralty River. Once the site of a Viking trading camp, this grand old building was the home of influential families and played an important role in the region. Standish Vereker, the 7th Viscount Gort, who was a connoisseur of fine art, bought this ancient structure in 1953. The castle which was in ruins at the time was revived to its Middle Age-glory the following year. Decked with medieval art, furnishings and tapestries, it opened its doors to the public in 1962 and ever since is among the primary tourist attractions of Bunratty village. It is famous for its medieval banquets while its adjacent Folk Park is reminiscent of the village life of that era.