PLACES OF IRISH INTEREST BIRR COUNTY OFFALY.
Nestled in the centre of Ireland is the town of Birr. It is one of Ireland's most excellent example of a Georgian Town. Georgian houses grace it's well planned tree-lined avenues and streets.
Birr is located on the River Camcor. There is evidence of prehistoric activity in the general area. In the 6th century A.D. a monastery was founded here by St. Brendan of Birr. In 1208 an Anglo-Norman castle was built at Birr. In 1619 Sir Laurence Parsons was granted Birr Castle and 1,277 acres of land. The town of Birr developed under Sir Laurence's influence and guidance. Apart from its many beautiful Georgian buildings the town was distinguished for its busy economic and social life.
In the nineteenth century, Birr was a place of scientific discovery. The 3rd Earl of Rosse built the giant telescope; his wife the countess Mary, was a great pioneer photographer. Their son invented the steam turbine engine.
Birr Castle and gardens are a wonderful place to wander around. Whether its by taking a horse-drawn carriage or a guided tour of the house. As the castle is a private dwelling, it may not be always open to the public.
The beautiful gardens are well worth a visit. There is a childrens play area with an amazing tree house, which the children no doubt will enjoy.
Perhaps the castle is most famous for it's famous telescope. It was built by the 3rd Earl of Rosse in the 1840s. At the time it was the biggest telescope in the world and the work continues today. Enjoy the science museum, mainly to do with astronomy and the darkroom used by Mary Rosse who was born in 1813. It is the oldest darkroom in Europe.
Finish the day off by visiting the cafe and tasting the delightful and tasty foods. Perhaps a slice of Victoria Sponge and cream.