Birr Castle


Birr Castle has been the seat of the Parsons family for almost 400 years, and is still the home of the current Earl of Rosse today. Because of this, the castle itself is only open to the public through a prearranged tour, but the grounds and gardens are well worth a visit and also house Ireland's Historic Science Centre, which is a particularly good attraction for families.

Guests at the Radisson Blu Hotel Athlone can easily reach Birr Castle Demesne, which is only a 45 minute drive from the property.

birr castle

About Birr Castle

Birr Castle was constructed in the early 17th century on the site of a gatehouse that once belonged to an earlier O'Carroll family tower. The work was commissioned by one Sir Laurence Parsons, whose family subsequently acquired the title of the title Earl of Rosse and still live in the property today. The castle was besieged for 15 months during the Irish Rebellion of 1641.

In the 18th century the castle's gardens began to evolve from the original small kitchen garden, to the vast and elaborate landscaping you can see today. Birr Castle Demesne is now home to a variety of rare plant species, as well as old varieties of rose, wisteria and an impressive collection of magnolias. It also features a 300-year-old box hedge that is said to be the tallest in the world, as well as Ireland's oldest wrought-iron bridge, which was installed in 1820.

The Parsons family have also long been linked to scientific study, especially in the case of William Parsons, the 3rd Earl of Rosse, who in 1845 created the great telescope, which can still be visited today at Ireland's Historic Science Centre in the castle grounds. At the time it was built, this telescope (also known as Leviathan was the largest and most powerful constructed to date, and visitors flocked from all over the world to see it.


How to find Birr Castle