Birr Castle

Leviathan of Parsonstown

Birr castle in County Offaly in the midlands of Ireland, is the home to the 7th Earl of Rosse, the castle architecture dates back to the 17th century and it was renovated in the 19th century.  The castle itself is closed to the public but you can walk around the gardens and demesne, which have been restored.  There is also an outdoor playground with a giant tree house and a bouncing pillow for children.

You can view the Great Telescope on the grounds of Birr Castle, also known as Leviathan of Parsonstown, an astronomical telescope which was completed in 1845 by the 3rd Earl of Rosse, it was used for several decades and was the largest telescope in the world up to 1917.  The telescope was reconstructed in the 1990’s.  Also,  you can visit the awarding winning, History of Science in Ireland Museum, an interactive centre, which tells the history of Ireland’s historic scientists, focusing on photography, engineering and astronomy and explains how the world famous Great Telescope was constructed and maintained.

I didn’t to my homework before visiting and I was a bit disappointed, we couldn’t go inside the castle, but that’s understandable as it is the Earl of Rosse’s residential home, I’m glad the castle is actually lived in, perhaps during Heritage week they open to the public.

The castle is well signposted around Birr but we still managed to miss the turn for it and drove round twice, we parked on the street and it was paid parking, although I read afterwards that there is a free car park nearby. We paid about 9 euros each for a ticket into the grounds of the castle and into the science museum.

As I’m more of a history buff, I would have liked a tour of the castle and to hear about the history of it.  If you have an interest in science, I think you will really enjoy it and if you have kids they will love the playground.  It was nice to walk around the castle demesne and see the historic Great Telescope.


(Click on any of the photos to enlarge and click outside of the photo to close)

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