The award-winning Gardens of Birr Castle Demesne are both rich in amazing feats of science and engineering, as well as rare trees and flowers, wonderful wildlife, walks along peaceful rivers and the lake. Celebrating 400 years this year, the remarkable Parsons family who have a global reputation for their ground-breaking inventions and feats have resided at the romantic and inspirational setting of Birr Castle Demesne, that is now home to the 7th Earl of Rosse.
Set in the stunning heritage town of Birr on 120 acres of parklands and gardens, Birr Castle Demesne boasts a rare collection of over 4000 trees and plants, wonderful wildlife, and peaceful walks along rivers, waterfalls and lake. Birr Castle Demesne is one of Europe’s great gardens and is home to an abundance of rare plants, collected by the Earls of Rosse on their travels around the world over the last 150 years. Within the 50 hectares you will find the world’s tallest box hedges, over 40 champion trees, over 2000 species of plant as well as rivers, a lake and waterfalls.
In the centre of the Demesne visitors will find the world famous Great Telescope designed and built by the third Earl of Rosse in the early 1840s, it was the largest telescope in the world. The historic Science Centre transports visitors back to a time when Birr Castle was a hub of scientific discovery and innovation. The interactive galleries reveal the wonders of early photography, engineering and astronomy. The Demesne also boasts Ireland’s tallest three-story fairytale treehouse with an adventure playground alongside sandpits and a hobbit Hut.
NEW FOR SUMMER 2022!
Wild Connections – Flora Trail
For biodiversity week 2022, we are excited to introduce to you the new Wild Connections Flora trail here at the Demesne. This self-guided trail, which is supported by SFI, is sure to inspire wonder and appreciation in the native flora that puts on a spectacular display every Spring and Summer. The Flora Trail map includes 20 native trees and plants for you to discover from late March until early July. We are certain you and your family will leave the demesne feeling inspired to identify even more of the amazing biodiversity available to us at every turn. The Trail is included in general admission and is suitable for all ages. Pick up the Wild Connection Flora Trail at reception and get exploring! BOOK HERE!
At Birr Castle Demesne, a fallen tree near the fernery, with sunlight coming through the branches, birdsong and flowing water sounds in the background awaits you. This is just one area in Birr Castle Demesne in which you can try your hand at the Japanese spiritual practice of shinrin-yoku or Forest Bathing, which literally means taking in the forest through our senses. Over the past year, many of us have become aware that spending mindful time in the woods is beneficial for both the body and the soul. The practice of shinrin-yoku, literally, forest bath, is understood in Japanese culture to be a critical factor in the fight against diseases, of the mind and body, boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure, and aiding sleep. Visit Birr Castle Demesne today and try the practice of Forest Bathing. Forest Bathing is included with General Admission tickets. BOOK HERE!
The X-Trails Solar Trail
Each step on this trail is equivalent to over 1.6 million kilometres in space! Walk the Solar Trail and experience the size, distance and scale of our Solar System along the 2km route. Be inspired and gain a new perspective and appreciation of the planets, our Sun, and our place in space. Challenge sheets are available at reception on arrival, and the trail is included in the General Admission fee. Suitable for ages 7 and above. BOOK HERE!
The Red Tree Trail
We are excited to introduce you to The Red Tree Trail. This trail is new for 2021 and includes 65 Trees of distinction. Covering over 5 km this might be a trail you can enjoy over multiple visits. The Trail is included in your general admission ticket prices and you can pick up a map at reception. For further information and a map, please view our PDF brochure. BOOK HERE!
(weather permitting) For those interested in nature, discovery and adventure, Birr Castle Demesne Centre is the place for you. The team have created the “Family Quest” which will take the young and maybe not so young explorers on a journey through time, from great engineering feats to wildlife discoveries, and many more highlights in between. The Quest can be picked up at reception on arrival and is included in the General Admission fee. Suitable for all ages.
Guided Garden Tours for Spring 2023
The Guided Garden Tour is a 90-minute tour of the seasonal garden highlights of the demesne, led by a dedicated member of our garden team. Explore the award-winning gardens and parklands on this breath-taking 120-acre (50-hectares) demesne, with a collection of over 4,000 trees and plants from the four corners of the world. Breathe deep and feel the connection with nature within magical surroundings that celebrate the Parsons Family’s 400-year commitment to horticulture and botany. Free time following your tour allows you explore further this amazing demesne, science galleries, Great telescope and I-LOFAR. The tour guide will focus on best in season at the time of your tour. Pre-booking is highly recommended. Bookings will open in early 2023.