Open All Year
16 Mar to 31 Oct
0900hrs - 1800hrs
1 Nov to 15 Mar
1000hrs - 1600hrs
The Castle Courtyard Café
April ~ October
The Discovery Gift Shop
Open every day of year
Things to do
A 'demesne' consists of the lands held by an estate for its own use and occupation, incorporating gardens, farmlands, woods and buildings. This system can be traced back to the early mediaeval period, when home grown items were set aside to produce both goods and profit for the estate. In the 18th and 19th centuries various styles and fashions of landscape ornamentation created new emphases and changes of garden size and layout.
The small kitchen garden and orchard originally developed at Birr is completely different from the garden today enjoyed by thousands of visitors to the demesne every year. Birr Castle Gardens has become world famous for its exotic tree and plant collections, rivers and lake, formal gardens, terraces and wildflower meadows.
Fourteen successive generations of the Parsons family have left their mark on the demesne through continuous planting, building, arrangement and creation of features ranging from the practical to the romantic.
Ireland's Historic Science Centre
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
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.
Eating & Shopping
The Discovery Gift Shop at Birr Castle Gardens offers gifts for every taste...
Treehouse Adventure Area
The Treehouse Adventure Area at Birr Castle Gardens is open daily from 9.00 until 17.30. It features Ireland's largest treehouse along with sand pits and much more. The bouncy pillow will be open daily from 12.00 until 17.30 during July and August. All children wishing to use it must have a permission form signed by their guardian. This form is available from the science centre. Dogs are not permitted within the playground area.
Birr Castle Seasonal highlights
Click on the images to view our seasonal highlights photo gallery