Trails & Events
Wild Connections – Flora Trail
NEW FOR SUMMER 2022!
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!
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.
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.
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.
The Gallery Challenge
Do you have a science or astronomy buff on your hands? Looking for something fun to do on a rainy or cold day? Or just want to learn more about the achievements and history of Birr Castle Demesne and the Parsons family during your visit?
Wander through our seven Science Galleries where you will find the answers written along the walls and hidden among the displays. Starting from our Welcome Video in the first gallery, continuing upstairs where you will find more answers along with a Hologram of Mary Rosse, the Third Countess located inside the Oldest Darkroom in the World. Finish in the Engineering Gallery where you will discover the achievements of the world-famous inventor, Charles Parsons.
The Gallery Challenge can be picked up at reception on arrival, and is included in the General Admission fee. Suitable for all ages.
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 Discovery Tour with General Admission
29 April to 3 September, Fridays at 12:00 and Saturdays at 12:00 & 15:00
Castle interiors not included. Pre-booking is highly recommended, click on the link below and choose your preferred Friday or Saturday date and the time and options will appear. Please scroll down to your ticket option of Guided Discovery Tours.
Castle Tour with General Admission 2022
17 May to 3 September 2022
Guided tours of the interior of Birr Castle will run Monday to Saturday throughout May, June, July & August, with tours running at 10:00, 11:30 & 13:00 daily.
On your tour of the castle, your guide will lead you through a number of beautiful rooms while enlightening you on the history, the family, key pieces of furniture, and the collection of treasures within the rooms.
Pre-booking is essential for castle tours, and tours are suitable for age 12 upwards.
CRUINNIU NA nÓg
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.
On 11 June, we will open our doors to several workshops linking our Astronomical Heritage alongside our rich Wildlife and Plant Heritage which can all be found within the demesne of Birr Castle. Each of the workshops will have an information session followed by a creative aspect and afterward, the participating children along with their parents can spend time exploring the parklands on one of our many trails.
Our Astronomical Heritage Workshops will be suitable for children aged 8 to 13 years, and our Wildlife & Plants Heritage Workshop will be suitable for ages 5-13 years. We have tailored these workshops for families, and parents can join their children and also have fun taking part in the workshops.
Workshops may include creating your own life-size Heron nest, finding out the secrets of the dandelion, creating your own flower crown, and drawing your version of the whirlpool nebula using a similar tool to that of the 3rd Earl. We look forward to welcoming you on 11 June.
Pre-booking your preferred workshop is essential. One workshop only per child. Children must be accompanied by an adult, one adult max per child due to limited spaces. To book, click the link below and select 11 June on the calendar, and select the event from the drop-down options.
Wild Connections Summer Camps
Our fun Wild Connection camps will let your kids connect with nature in the great outdoors under the guidance of our experienced education team.
Our biodiversity summer camps will take place over two separate weeks in July.
Week 1 – July 4th to 8th
Week 2 – July 11th to 15th
From 10.00-14.00 each day.
Suitable for children 5 to 12 years of age. Limited spaces per camp. Unfortunately this camp is not suitable for children with limited mobility.
Sample activities include:
- Pond Dipping
- Bird Watching
- Nature Crafts
- Wellness Walk
- Flora Trail
Lunch/break times include the schedule.
All children must bring their own packed lunch and notify, at the time of booking, of any allergies or medical conditions that could infringe on the ability to take part in the activities. Please dress for the outdoors and re-apply sun lotion to children in advance of the workshops.
Cost: €60 per child (10% discount to Friends with valid membership)
50th Irish Hot Air Ballooning Championships
This wonderful event will kick start or take off all going well from Saturday evening the 24 September 2022. The balloons are due to take off each morning and evening up to Friday 30 evening flight.
Please note that Ballooning is 100% weather dependent and subject to quite strict weather conditions. Winds up to 10km, no mist, fog or rain – stop play can happen with very little notice. The formal fly or no fly takes place 45 minutes ahead of the scheduled fly time. Please note this when booking tickets. Birr Castle Demesne is the venue for the Championships, please note we can not confirm flight take off or not. Please follow this facebook page for the most up-to-date announcements. www.facebook.com/IrishBallooningChampionship/
Sat 24 September, evening flight open to public
Sun 25 September, morning and evening flights open to public
Mon 26 to Fri 30 evening flights only open to the public.
We will announce via our own social media pages when access tickets to the demesne are ready for sale.
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.