Thing to do
Birr Castle Gardens & Science Centre - Walking Distance 2 mins
Home to the Earls of Rosse since 1620, Birr Castle is the Private Home of Brendan, the 7th Earl and his Family. The Award winning Gardens and buildings in the grounds of Birr Castle house an array of unique plants, not to mention a detailed insight into the History of the Parsons family. The Great Telescope,designed by the 3rd Earl or Rosse, was the largest in the World for 70 years and is now fully restored. Ireland's Historic Science Centre offers a fascinating insight into the History of this pioneering Family, with particular
emphasis on Astronomy, Photography and Botany. The Gardens at Birr Castle Demesne are home to some 4,000named trees many of which are unqiue to Ireland, having been carefully preserved and cultivated following trips
to China and other exotic regions.
Birr Theatre and Arts Centre is a dedicated purpose built theatre which dates from 1888, located opposite the Stable. Having fallen into disrepair during the eighties and nineties, Birr Stage Guild set about restoring and refurbishing this Victorian theatre building to its original glory with seating capacity for 220 with both public funds and local fundraising. Program of events include theatre, music - classical, contemporary, folk, jazz etc, film, dance, comedy etc. Click here to view programme of events.
MacGregol's Gospels - (The Book of Birr) Walking Distance 5-8 mins
The Macregol Gospel Book is a manuscript copy of the Four Gospels written in Birr by Macregol (Bishop of Birr) circa 800 AD. It is unclear how the manuscript came to be in England but towards the end of the tenth century
two clerics, Farman and Owun inserted a translation into the Old English of that time. It is therefore a valuable source for the history of the English language. In 2006, Birr Historical Society, courtesy of the Bodleain Library,
Oxford and thanks to the generosity of local people and of friends, obtained a facsimile of the Macregol Gospels be freely on display in Birr Town Library.
Attractions worth driving to within 20-30 minutes from Birr
Lough Boora Parklands -20 mins
The most inspiring visitor attraction in Ireland's midlands - Lough Boora has it all. One of the most advanced wetland reserves in the Country with over 130 species of birds including Ireland's only remaining Grey
Partdridge. Lough Boora is even better known for the Sculpture Park which must be seen to be believed. There's also walking trails, cycle paths, picnic area, a mesolithic site and lots more planned including a major visitor
attraction for all the family - www.loughbooraparklands.com
Monastic Ruins at Clonmacnoise - 25 mins
An ancient place where time stands still. This sixth century monastic site, located on the banks of the River Shannon is home to three high crosses, a
cathedral, seven churches and two round towers.
Slieve Bloom Mountains
10 Mins - from Birr in Kinnitty Village - Ideal for those who seek the tranquillity of an unspoilt landscape, theSlieve Bloom Mountains provide the perfect setting for a cycle, drive or walk. For the more adventurous the
66km Slieve Bloom Way passes remarkably deep glens and beautiful waterfalls. A well sign -posted network of minor roads gives access to a whole host of forested & wooded glens. Tours guides, walking maps and walking
programme all available on request - www.slievebloom.ie
Tullamore D.E.W. Old Bonded Warehouse
Enjoy a tipple ……You don’t have to be a whiskey drinker to enjoy a trip to the Tullamore D.E.W. Old Bonded Warehouse. Situated on the banks of the Grand Canal, the distillery’s original Bonded Warehouse was the last place our whiskey would rest; the final leg on its journey before being shipped up the canal for distribution around the world. But where the casks moved on, the history remained. Join Tullamore D.E.W. on a journey of discovery through almost two centuries of the distillery’s history and enjoy a tipple of the legendary Irish
whiskey itself (but only if you want to!)
Portumna Castle - 25 mins
Portumna Castle and Demesne occupy a magnificent location on the shores of Lough Derg on the River Shannon. Although gutted by fire in 1826, the Castle is still an imposing example of Irish architecture of the early 17th Century. Built before 1618 by Richard de Burgo, 4th Earl of Clanricarde, the castle became the main seat of the de Burgo family for over 200 years.
Portumna Work House – 30 mins
The workhouse has been described as “the most feared and hated institution ever established in Ireland.” The workhouse was an institution which operated in Ireland for a period of some 80 years, from the early 1840s to
the early 1920s. There were 163 workhouses in total. If people could not support themselves, they could come into the workhouse. Here they would do some work in return for food. People had to stay and live in the workhouse and so the system was known as indoor relief. Portumna Work House, Open 7 days a week From 1st March. to 31st October.
Located on the famous Georgian streetscape of Oxmantown Mall, in the heart of the heritage town of Birr. Directly opposite Birr Theatre & Arts Centre and adjacent to main gates of Birr Castle Gardens & Science Centre.
Birr, Co Offaly
T: + 353 5 9120263