The Regency Garden, Bunratty Folk Park

The bad news? I have fallen off the Juneathon bandwagon. The good news? I landed in Limerick.

Oh, and I have a plan for catching up with the rest of the Juneathon field.

Yes, I am still in Limerick for the purposes of this post. Or actually, just outside of the city in Co. Clare and I am back in  the superb Bunratty Folk Park.

This time, I am looking at some of the fantastic floral displays in the place, particularly in the Regency Garden there. It really is a breathtaking spot. A warm breeze was sweeping through there when we visited last Thursday, carrying the heavenly scents of jasmine and roses.

It was an invitation to look and linger, which we gladly accepted.

When I think of Regency, I am always reminded of Jane Austen. Assuming the planting of this garden is faithful to 1820s Britain, it is easy to imagine Austen’s cotery of characters rambling around this beautiful walled garden.

Three of the plants came from outside the garden-that’s the striped rose, the fushcia and the deep pink rose. They’re all from other parts of the folk park. Though I expect the foxglove and deep pink rose are typical of 1820s Britain, I am not sure about the candy striped rose. It was too beautiful to leave out, however.

There were no labels with these plants and so, I am at a loss for names. I yield to the greater expertise of my readers on this one. I’ve numbered them instead, and  be thrilled if you could name any of them for me.

Juneathon mileage in Bunratty Folk Park? I have no idea. I didn’t run around it though. It was more of a slow amble to savour the whole place.

But I did run on Wednesday. Just three miles.  And I had another nice amble around Limerick city yesterday, of which, more anon.

Juneathon Mileage Wednesday: Three miles

Juneathon Mileage to Date:55.14miles

Plans to catch up: On my Bike

Edited 22nd June: With Thanks to Hedwiga and Katie for helping identify the plants. And to Paige for trying!

Now, can anyone help name those plants, please?

Bunratty Folk Park

My sister and I took a ramble down memory lane yesterday in Bunratty Folk Park, Co. Clare. The ghosts of our parents and grandparents accompanied us. Along with the contents of twenty tourist buses.

As the tourists spilled merrily out along the meandering paths and cottages, we suspected both The Quiet Man and homesick forebears informed a more romantic view of their Ireland.

Thatching the fisherman's cottage

Smoke rises from the chimney, as the thatcher tends to his labours. The woman of the house is at home and has soda bread baking in the baker on the hearth.Oh to own a little houseMy father often spoke of the baker. It’s the little black pot to the front of the hearth in this picture. You may even make out the embers on top of the lid and surrounding the pot. The woman of the house informed us that it takes about an hour and a half to bake the soda bread in this way,

Our grandmothers both had very large families and farmwork to attend to. So, when we followed the woman out of the house on into the dairy it was another vaguely familiar scene from out childhood. One of our grandmother’s had a dairy too, and both grandmothers made their own butter.

In the dairy dairy

They also made the clothes for their families. The Singer sewing machine was a standard piece of furniture from my father’s childhood.

Sewing machine

As indeed, were pictures, and occasionally statues, of the Sacred Heart.

The amount of religious iconography as displayed in all of the Irish Catholic homes in Bunratty is just astonishing. But my sister and I agree that it was very typical  right up until the 1980s in very many Irish homes.

Bedroom Bedroom 2


And, while bedrooms might look like cosy features in this little houses, they were frequently damp, always overcrowded. Our mother often recalled sleeping head to tail with her four sisters in one bed.

Mind you, all five sisters were great talkers too, so I can’t see how they ever managed to get much sleep.

There is a carefully reconstructed village in the Folk Park. Complete with drapery and hardware shops…


Village stores

…a doctor’s house…

..Doctors house


..a pub…MacNamaras

..the home of the Hughes’ brothers who founded the HB ice-cream company…

Hughes Brothers House

…and the ubiquitous black Nelly which everyone aspired to owning in the 1930s Ireland.


I’ve had my own adventures on one of those bikes.

And more somber times seated at school desks similar to this one. In our day, a little white ceramic inkwell sat inside the brass holder, while our nibs rested in the wooden groove across the top of the desk.Desk

And the fact that we can recall that, made my sister and I feel very old indeed.

Oh, it is wonderful to rove around Memory Lane. The tourists we met had a delighted curiosity about it all, but we were close enough to it to know that they were tough times for very many people and the Ireland of today is a kinder place.

Though some would disagree…

“Ah, haven’t we lost a lot in this little country of ours.  We had nothing long ago but at least we were happy. We’ve none of that now, and no sense of community any more.”

The man was in his fifties and seemed was evidently  unsettled by his perambulations through the past.  Sister and glanced at each other and shook our heads. Maybe men had an easier time back then, though it’s difficult to be sure from our perspective.

The Folk Park had given us a chance to piece together a little but more of our grandmother’s daily lives.  We both agreed that it was a constant struggle for women in Ireland of yore. It’s easy to forget that amid the peaceful pastoral scenes of Bunratty Folk Park.

We so, we tumbled out of the Folk Park, thrilled with our journey, grateful to our forebears, and relieved to be living in 21st century Ireland.