Location: Birr, County Offaly, Ireland.
Ownership / Access: Earl of Rosse, Ireland's Historic Science Centre.
Opening times: Residential areas of the castle are not open to the public, though the grounds and gardens of the demesne are publicly accessible.
Price of admission: Check their website for more info.
Notes: Birr Castle is a large castle in the town of Birr in County Offaly, Ireland. It is the home of the seventh Earl of Rosse, and as such the residential areas of the castle are not open to the public, though the grounds and gardens of the demesne are publicly accessible. The castle grounds are also home to Ireland's Historic Science Centre, a museum of Ireland's historic scientists and their contributions to astronomy and botany. A main feature on the grounds of the castle is the "Great Telescope" or Leviathan (aka The Rosse Telescope) of the third Earl of Rosse, an astronomical telescope with a 183-cm (72 in) reflector. It was completed in 1845 and was used for several decades before the last observations were made in the first years of the 20th century. Its record size was not surpassed until the completion of the 100-inch (2.5-meter) Hooker Telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory in 1917. It was dismantled in 1914, but the structure was restored and the telescope reconstructed in the 1990s and is open to the public. Laurence Parsons, 4th Earl of Rosse and his mother were eminent photographers and her darkroom, which is also on show, is believed to be the oldest surviving example in the world. The grounds of the castle contain the oldest wrought-iron bridge in Ireland, dating from 1820. The walled gardens in the grounds feature Box Hedges that are over 300 years old. They are also, according to The Guinness Book of Records, the tallest hedge in the world. The Irish entry to the 2014 European Tree of the Year contest was the Birr Castle Grey Poplar (poplus x canescens). Unfortunately on 12 February 2014, while voting was still open, it was blown down in a storm.
How To Get To Birr Castle (Map):
Birr Castle Links:Birr Castle On Wikipedia
Birr Castle Demesne