Midway between Bunratty and Ennis, this regal castle was built in 1467 as the home of the MacNamara clan—who, along with the O’Briens, dominated the area for more than 1,000 years. Oliver Cromwell used the castle as a base in the mid-17th century while pillaging the countryside, which is why, unlike many castles, it was largely left intact. The original Norman structure also has elaborate late-Georgian and Regency wings, added in the early and mid-19th century. Later, in the 20th century, it fell into disrepair, but was rescued by Texan Mark Edwin Andrews (1903–92), a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He and his wife, Lavone, an architect, worked closely with area historical societies and returned the castle to its former glory, even furnishing it with 15th-century furniture. The Andrews family then turned Knappogue over to the Irish people. The peaceful walled gardens have been meticulously restored to their Victorian condition—look for the wonderful statue of Bacchus. The gardens supply herbs for the medieval banquets, held nightly at 6:30pm from April to October. Tickets cost €50 adults, €33 children 10 to 12, €22 children 6 to 9 (free for children under 6). Reservations are essential. At present the banquets are the only way to see inside the castle, although it’s hoped that daytime tours may be restored in the future.