Birr Castle: Another 12th Irish Monument Where the Old Meets the New
Situated in Central Ireland, Birr Castle belongs
to County Offaly in the Province of Leinster. Although it is a private castle
used by royals, Birr is still signposted and hard to miss in the tiny town of Birr.
The journey from Dublin Airport takes just over 90 minutes, and the route takes
you along the M4, the M6 and eventually on the N52 until there is a sign
pointing to the castle at the end of William Street.
Things to Know About Birr Castle
Here are some fun facts about this amazing Irish landmark. Hopefully they will entice you to pay a visit in person!
But if that is not possible, you can always use them to impress your friends with your knowledge of one of the most-loved attractions in Ireland.
- This castle, found in the
small town of Birr in County Offaly, is one of the few still used as a royal
- Owned and lived in by the
seventh Earl of Rosse, Birr Castle has an impressive pedigree dating back to
the 12th century.
- Although the interior is not
open to the public, you can tour the gardens, which were famously landscaped by
Sir William Parsons in the 18th century.
- Spot waterfalls, enormous
floral gardens, wrought-iron bridges and a large 19th century telescope while
exploring the grounds of Birr Castle.
- 150 years ago, Birr Castle was a hub for scientists in Ireland. The 3rd Earl of Rosse built the world's largest telescope to keep at his castle.
- The enormous telescope, known as the Leviathan, was the world's largest for more than 70 years. It is still located at the castle, where visitors can easily see it for themselves.
- Leviathan, while in use at the Castle, helped facilitate the discovery of the spiral shape of galaxies. While this is common knowledge today, it was a tremendous breakthrough in the 19th century.
- If you're interested in astronomy or another other sciences, then you'll definitely want to visit the Science Centre. It is packed with astronomy instruments and cameras from the 19th and 20th centuries.
- The gardens are a worthy destination in their own right. If you want to learn as much as possible about the property, the audio tour includes 30 points of note throughout the gardens.
- There are more than five miles of trails that you can explore on foot. The Blue Trail is the best option if you're hoping to spot some of the wildlife on the premises or you want to see where the two rivers meet on the property.
- Although the is still a private residence, guided tours of the castle are available. These 60-minute tours are available in the summer months and allow you to see inside the main reception rooms.
- If you're traveling with children, then you're in for a serious treat. There are lots of child-friendly attractions, but nothing can compare to the Tree House Adventure Area.
- Birr Castle is home to the largest treehouse in all of Ireland, and its shaped like a castle. After climbing the turrets and playing in the sand, there's even a Sweet Shop nearby for a delicious treat or a cold drink.
- Don't leave until you've seen the famed Tilia cordata greenspire, a spiral of lime trees. These trees were planted in the shape of the M51 Galaxy, which was first spotted through the Leviathan telescope located in the Castle.
For more information visit the official website here.
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