The picturesque heritage town of Birr, developed around the Birr Castle estate of the Parsons family, the Earls of Rosse. With its handsome ensemble of Georgian architecture, there’s a lot to like about Birr. The tree-lined malls and avenues of elegant houses dating from the 1800s tell a fascinating story. Heaving with history, Birr is one of Ireland’s premier heritage towns and proud of its unique character spanning many centuries.
Its most famous landmark, Birr Castle Demense, has been the seat of the Parsons family – the Earls of Rosse – for fourteen generations. Today the Castle Gardens & Science Centre attracts tourists throughout the year, captivated by the stunning formal gardens, the Great Telescope and the grandeur of the castle itself. The town is also home to the renowned Birr Theatre – an essential regional stop-off for all major drama, dance, opera and comedy performances doing the national circuit. A great way to explore the town is to take either the
or Riverbank Walk, with both routes starting from Emmet Square and covering a distance of just over 1km each. Another option to explore the town is ‘A Town Reads Mitchell’ trail( poems from The Living Chalice). This is a Creative Ireland and Anam Beo Community Arts Project, a celebratory experience derived from the Famous and Notables of Birr Trail created previously by local artists Jackie Lynch and Rosalind Fanning as a tourism initiative for the town.
Birr also has a rich monastic heritage and was home in the 6th century to St.Brendan, one of the “twelve apostles of Ireland”. The original monastic site is probably close to the castle in William Street, behind wrought-iron gates of the old church and graveyard of St.Brendan