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Birr

Birr is a town in County Offaly, Ireland. It was formerly called Parsonstown, after the Parsons family who were local landowners and hereditary Earls of Rosse, and renamed at some time between 1891 and 1901. The town lies within a parish of the same name in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Killaloe.Birr is a designated Irish Heritage Town with a carefully preserved Georgian heritage. Birr itself has graceful wide streets and elegant buildings. Many of the houses in John's Place and Oxmantown Mall have exquisite fanlight windows of the Georgian period.The town is known for Birr Castle and its gardens, home of the Parsons family and also the Leviathan of Parsonstown which was for a time the largest telescope in the world.Access and transportThe town is situated at the meeting of the Camcor and Little Brosna rivers which flow on into the River Shannon near Victoria Lock.Birr railway station opened on 8 March 1858, but finally closed on 1 January 1963.The Ormond Flying Club has been in operation at Birr Airfield for over 30 years. The area has been linked with aviation for some time – as a British Army airstrip was previously near the current field.Birr lies on the N52 and N62 national secondary roads. The routes are combined as they pass through Birr. The R439, R440 and R489 regional roads also terminate in the town.
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