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Birr Castle Gardens, Birr

4.1
#3 of 26 in Things to do in County Offaly
Garden Nature / Park
Learn about the history of science and wander centuries-old walled gardens on the grounds of the Earl of Rosse's residence at Birr Castle Gardens. Known for their interest in science, the earls founded Ireland's Historic Science Centre on the castle grounds. The Third Earl was responsible for constructing the great telescope that points toward the stars. At that time, it was the largest telescope in the world and could see further into space than any other. Other exhibits inside the science center showcase some of the earliest advances in photography, engineering, and botany. The castle itself remains the home of the hereditary earls, so it is closed to the public. However, the grounds, science center, and gardens are open when you pay the entrance fee. Events are a regular occurance at the attraction, such as the Irish Game and County Fair, and these charge a special admission fee. To visit Birr Castle Gardens and other attractions in County Offaly, use our County Offaly vacation planner.
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(County Offaly is the nearest city to Birr Castle Gardens)

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4.3
TripAdvisor
  • The Parsons family lives in Birr-castle since the 17th century and is well known for exceptional performances especially concerning engeneering skills. More explanations in the science center. The cas...  more »
  • This area was occupied since the early years of a thousand from a castle belonged until the 17th century the o'carroll family, after much destruction occurred during the conflicts between Protestants and Catholics, was given to the family, Earls of Rosse, Parson that rebuilt the Castle and Victorian neo-Gothic appearance-in his current--still inhabit. Open to the public is only the park that more of the current Castle retains the splendour of the eighteenth century, in its enormous extent a river with its Rapids, on which runs a suspension bridge and on whose shores overlooking a beautiful garden full of flowers, and then large meadows with trees and large, the Lake with waterlilies, ducks and Lake birds that thrives in this corner of paradise. And then the Italian gardens, manicured hedges, among the highest in the world, and in a large grassy clearing next to the castle the reconstruction of ancient giant telescope that an enlightened family member had to satisfy his anxiety for knowledge. Let us take him as long as possible in this park, an oasis of calm and an endless discovery of scenic wonders and natural.
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  • This wasn't on our original itinerary but so, so glad we took the advice of a local to stop here on route to our next destination. However, we did not allow enough time for this as it is HUGE and so m...  more »
Google
  • So much more than we expected! Amazing Astronomy, Engineering, and Photography exhibits with a large amount of artifacts and displays! The Earl's of Ross were an amazing family, and the Great Telescope is something that can't be missed if you are at all interested in Astronomy. The grounds were beautiful, and we could have spent an entire day there if we had the time. A great kids play area as well!
  • A beautiful, historical castle seeped with history and science. Family owned and excellent guides. Website response is very prompt. Staff knowledgeable and helpful. Definitely recommend to any age group. Group bookings and school trips. Wheel chair accessible and dog friendly. What more could you want....
  • Amazing gardens, wish I had planned more time there! The gardens are beautiful, and the views of the castle are great. The science center was impressive too, much larger than expected. The castle is privately owned, with a family living there, so there are only a few set times for castle tours per day. The gardens and science center alone are well with the visit. Favorites: - telescope - Whirlpool spiral (model of the whirlpool nebula) - views of the castle - science center
  • The gardens are huge and will take a couple of hours strolling to see. The Great Telescope is very impressive and considering it was constructed over 170 years ago, it and it's support structure is a marvel of engineering. The museum is a real gem. One of the most interesting collection of scientific equipment I have ever seen. A must if you have any interest in optics, astronomy or engineering.
  • Amazing gardens. So peaceful and tranquil. Very kind and helpful staff. Don't leave without having lunch in the castle court cafe. The coffee and scones are to die for.

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Where to stay in County Offaly

While many visitors come to see the alluring monastic city of Clonmacnoise, travelers to County Offaly should consider spending time in some of its overlooked towns, including Tullamore and Birr, because Clonmacnoise does not offer a lot of places to stay. Spend the night at a traditional bed and breakfast in the county's biggest town, Tullamore, or head to a hotel or guesthouse in Birr for a chance to experience authentic Irish nightlife. As with many small towns in Ireland, staying in the center of town is your best bet.
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