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