This magnificent 90-room, 17th-century castle stands amid gorgeous, sprawling gardens, beautifully crafted as a kind of wonderland. The great house is still lived in by the same family that has owned it for centuries. It is only open to the public from May to August, 6 days a week—and even then for just a handful of pricey guided tours, limited to 15 adults, so advance booking is essential. But the real reason to come to Birr is to see the extraordinary grounds, which are open year-round. The demesne (estate) of the Parsons family, now the earls of Rosse, wraps around a peaceful lake and stretches over miles of pastures and wild woodland. There’s much to discover—beautiful topiaries, huge box hedges, a lovely wrought-iron bridge, a newly renovated science exhibition, and even a steampunk-esque, 19th-century telescope. There’s also a charming tea shop and a play area for kids.
Counties Galway, Westmeath and Offaly
Counties Galway, Westmeath and Offaly› Attraction
Birr Castle Gardens
Birr, Co. Offaly
Our Rating Neighborhood Take N52 37km (23 miles) southwest of Tullamore Hours Grounds: Mid-Mar–Oct daily 9am–6pm; Nov–mid-Mar daily 10am–4pm. Castle tours: May–Aug daily 10:30, 11:30am, 1pm Phone 057/912-0336 Prices Admission €9 adults; €7.50 seniors and youth age 13–17; €5 children 5–12; free for children 4 and under; €25 families. Castle tours €18 per person Web site Birr Castle Gardens Other No children under 12 on tours
MapBirr, Co. Offaly Counties Galway, Westmeath and Offaly
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.