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    The lake at Birr Castle Demesne   Birr Castle   Fagus sylvatica 'Birr Zebra'  
Great Telescope - Award-winning Gardens ...      Open every day of the year from 9:00 - 18:00 hrs ...       Junior Science Trail  and  Discover Primary Science (DPS) Tours ...

Introduction by Lord Rosse

Brendan, Earl of Rosse
© Birr Castle Archives

Welcome to Birr Castle Demesne web site. This web site is based around the lives and achievements of the Parsons family over the last four hundred years, and their contributions to astronomy, photography, engineering and botany. I hope you enjoy your visit to our new web site. and we look forward to welcoming you on a voyage of discovery at Birr Castle Demesne in the near future.

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Click here find more about JUNIOR SCIENCE TRAIL
at Birr Castle Demesne,
Ireland's Historic Science Centre

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Discover Primary Science
at Birr Castle Demesne

Latest News

Birr's Annual Whirlpool Star Party
8-10 October 2010

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2010 Rates and Information

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Ireland's Historic Science Centre

Ireland's Historic Science
Centre © Birr Castle Archives

Ireland's Historic Science Centre contains 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 of the castle.

The Great Telescope

A group of visitors watching
the Great Telescope being
put through its paces
© Birr Castle Archives

During the 1840's and starting from virtually first principles, the third Earl of Rosse designed and had built the mirrors, tube and mountings for a 72 inch reflecting telescope which was the largest in the world at that time and remained so for three quarters of a century. With this instrument, situated near the middle of Ireland, Lord Rosse was able to study and record details of immensely distant stellar objects and to provide evidence that many of these mysterious nebulae were actually galaxies located far outside our own.

Birr Castle

Birr Castle is home to Lord and Lady Rosse and their family and, as such, it is not open to the public. The images on 'Birr Castle' page (in 'About us' Section) show different views of the Castle, the buildings and grounds around the demesne.

Birr Castle complete with the flagpole which featured in the 'Telescope' Earl's experiments
© Birr Castle Archives

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©The Birr Scientific and Heritage Foundation
Ireland's Historic Science Centre   Birr Co Offaly Ireland

Head Office/Administration
Phone: +353 5791 20336 • Fax: +353 5791 21583 • Email:
Reception  (7 day reply 9.00 - 18.00) • Phone: +353 5791 20340 • Fax: +353 5791 21583