Birr Town is just 1½ hours drive from Galway City, making it the perfect place to visit for one of our Sunday day trips.
Located right in the heart of Birr town is Birr Castle, Gardens, and Science Centre, the Castle itself is the private residence of the 7th Earl of Rosse, and is open to the public via booked tours only from May through to August.
On the other hand the gardens and the grounds are open to the public pretty much all year round, with the admission fee being €9.00 per adult.
One of the main features on the grounds is the Great Telescope or Leviathan constructed by William Parsons the 3rd Earl of Rosse and is quite an impressive sight. Built in the 1840’s at one time it was the biggest telescope in the world.
The Great Telescope
When you pay your entry fee you will receive a detailed map guiding you through the different walking trails around the grounds and gardens, featuring highlights as you make you way around.
Flowers in bloom
We decided to use this for reference only and meandered around the grounds passing the Great Telescope through the wildflower meadow, on to the Victorian fernery and back around to the formal gardens. A highlight in the formal gardens is the box hedges, which are over 300 years old and according to the Guinness book of records are the tallest in the world.
Waterfall in the Victorian Fernery
My personal favourite area to walk through was the Victorian fernery with its mini waterfall. It was so easy to get the impression that the fairy folk were not far away, watching us as we navigated the meandering walkways and bridges. I could have happily just sat listening to the water cascade down the rocks and waited for one of them to appear.
For more information on Birr Castle & Gardens click here.
Wildflowers in the meadow
Arched entrance to the Formal Garden
Bluebells in bloom along the old vine greenhouses