Prepare to be amazed by the extraordinary achievements of the Parsons family who have a global reputation for their ground-breaking inventions and feats in the fields of science, engineering, photography, astronomy, and botany.
We aim to bring the story of the Parsons family to life and inspire students in their exploration of science, astronomy, engineering and biodiversity through a wide selection of curriculum-linked sessions. Discover our lively, interactive learning opportunities here at Birr Castle Demesne.
For more information regarding education at Birr Castle Demesne, click on any relevant button below.
Highlights of the Demesne include:
The Science Centre
The Science Centre reveals the wonders of early photography, engineering, botany, and astronomy, with a special emphasis placed upon the brilliant design and assembly of the Great Leviathan Telescope. Built in 1845 by the 3rd Earl of Rosse and housed in the gardens of Birr Castle, the telescope remained the largest in the world for over 70 years. The Science Centre boasts astronomical instruments, photographs, and photographic equipment, as well as electrical and engineering equipment – originally belonging to Charles Parsons and used in his experiments.
The 120 acre of gardens within the Demesne are home to over 5000 plant species and an array of wildlife that range from deer, foxes, red squirrels and herons! The plant species were collected by the Earls of Rosse on their travels around the world over the last 150 years. Within the 50 hectares you will find 50 champion trees, over 5000 species of plant as well as rivers, lake and waterfalls. It now has plant material collected and subscribed for by 3 generations of the family, as well as some of the most famous plant hunters, past and present. It was the first garden in Ireland to receive specimens of Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood) after its discovery in China in 1945.
The Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) is an international network of state-of-the-art telescopes used to observe the universe in unprecedented detail at low radio frequencies. LOFAR is one of the largest astrophysics projects in Europe, consisting of 12 international stations spread across Germany, Poland, France, UK, Sweden & Ireland, with additional stations and a central hub in the Netherlands, operated by ASTRON. The network uses state-of-the-art advanced computing techniques to combine the entire network into a telescope with the effective size of the European continent. For more information about I-LOFAR and its educational programs, contact Seamus Duffy <firstname.lastname@example.org> or visit https://lofar.ie
For self guided school tours please contact email@example.com and they will be happy to send you more details by email on what we can offer Primary Schools and Secondary Schools.