Wonderful Gardens and Historic Science Centre on 50 Acres of Parkland
Birr Castle Gardens and Science Centre offers something for all ages and most interests on 50 hectares of parkland, including an Historic Science Centre, a magnificent world-famous formal Gardens and terraces, the Great Birr Telescope (once the largest in the world) and a Treehouse Adventure Area
The Gardens at Birr are world-famous and one of the greatest gardens in Ireland. They are set in a landscape of 50 hectares and contain some of the largest and rarest tree species found in Ireland and the world.
The Gardens have a rich history attached to them. They were originally landscaped around the lake in the 18th century by Sir William Parsons, and over the generations of the Parsons family the Gardens has increased in beauty and interest. It now has plant material collected and subscribed for by 3 generations of the Earls of Rosse, as well as some of the most famous plant hunters past and present. It was the first garden in Ireland to receive specimens of Dawn Redwood after its discovery in China in 1945. It also boasts the world's tallest box hedges. The garden comes alive in spring with spring flowering bulbs and a vast Magnolia collection.
Tranquil waterfalls, lake and river water is a prominent feature of the Gardens.
Travel back to the time of the earlier Earls and Countesses of Rosse, when Birr Castle was a hub of scientific discovery and innovation. The interactive centre reveals the wonders of early photography, engineering and astronomy with a special emphasis on the brilliant design and assembly of the world famous Great Telescope.
Discover astronomical instruments, cameras, photographs and photographic equipment used by the Third and Fourth Earls and Mary, Countess of Rosse, in the middle and late 1800s.
Also on display is electrical and engineering equipment originally belonging to Charles Parsons and used in his experiments as well as a large area devoted to the botanical work carried out in the Demesne.
The whole collection is housed in the restored stables.
The Great Telescope
In the early 1840’s, the Third Earl of Rosse designed and built the largest telescope in the world. With this telescope, he discovered the spiral nature of some of the galaxies, and from 1845-1914, anyone wishing to witness this phenomenon had to come to Birr. And they came, in their hundreds, from across Europe and beyond, to observe the stars with Lord Rosse or simply to marvel at this feat of engineering in the middle of Ireland.
This reflecting telescope remained the largest in the world for over 70 years and is arguably the largest historic scientific instrument still working today.
The Treehouse Adventure Area at Birr Castle Gardens is open daily and closes 30 minutes before closing time. It features Ireland's largest treehouse along with sand pits and much more.