Attractions Within Walking Distance
Birr Castle and Gardens
Walking Distance 10 mins
Home to the Earls of Rosse since 1620, Birr Castle is the Private Home of Brendan, the 7th Earl and his Family. As such the House itself is not open to the public. 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.
A stay at the County Arms Hotel is not complete without a visit to Birr Castle & Gardens. 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 4,000 named trees many of which are unqiue to Ireland, having been carefully preserved and cultivated following trips to China and other exotic regions.
MacGregol's Gospels (The Book of Birr)
Walking Distance 3 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 to be freely on display in Birr Town Library.
Walking Distance 3 mins
Immediately nextdoor to Birr Library, housing the Book of Birr, this playground is newly opened in 2006 and features some of the most modern and safe equipment in Ireland. An ideal way to spend an hour or two for Children aged between 3 and 12 years.
Birr Theatre & Arts Centre
Walking Distance 15 mins
Birr Theatre and Arts Centre - Offaly's centre for the Arts - offers a wide variety of theatre and artistic events throughout the year. Enjoy an evening of music, drama, dance, opera, classical music, comedy and lots more. See website for current programme of events - www.birrtheatre.com
Attractions Worth Driving For
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 - Best preserved monastic ruins in Ireland, dating back to 544 AD.
Slieve Bloom Mountains
10 Mins - from Birr in Kinnitty Village - Ideal for those who seek the tranquillity of an unspoilt landscape, the Slieve 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
Pallas Go Karting
20-25 mins to Portumna onto Tynagh in East Galway - Europe's Largest Karting Centre, with a 500m beginners track, a 1500m advanced track, and a 2200m Rally track. You are always racing a Pallas Karting whether it is just you, you and a few friends, or the last day out as a free man or woman on a Stag or Hen party, or that corporate event to bond that team together. More info at www.pallaskarting.com
Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre
30 mins - Old-time whiskey distillery and heritage centre
Larry's Old-Time Village
15 mins - Model village depicts Ireland in the 1900s
Rock of Cashel
60 mins from Birr - A spectacular group of Medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale - www.cashel.ie
National Stud & Japanese Gardens
60 mins from Birr, on the way to Dublin - The Irish National Stud’s Japanese Gardens, renowned throughout the world and the finest of their kind in Europe, are far more than simply a treat for the eye. They also provide comfort to the soul, achieving exactly the objective that was set out when the gardens were created between 1906 and 1910. Devised by Colonel William Hall Walker, a wealthy Scotsman from a famous brewing family, the gardens were laid out by Japanese master horticulturist Tassa Eida and his son Minoru. Their aim was, through trees, plants, flowers, lawns, rocks and water, to symbolise the ‘Life of Man’. That plan was executed to perfection and Eida’s legacy is now admired by the 120,000 visitors who soak up the peace of the gardens every year.
90 mins from Birr, on the route from Shannon/Clare - The Burren National Park is located in the southeastern corner of the Burren and is approximately 1500 hectares in size. The Park land was bought by the Government for nature conservation and public access. It contains examples of all the major habitats within the Burren: Limestone Pavement, Calcareous Grassland, Hazel scrub, Ash/Hazel Woodland, Turloughs, Lakes, Petrifying Springs, Cliffs and Fen.