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Birr Castle & Telescope

Birr Castle was more than just a castle and gardens, it was the centre of scientific discovery in the 1840s and home to the worlds first largest telescope.

The estate itself is privately owned and the castle is occupied by the 7th Earl of Rosse. (William Clere Leonard Brendan Parsons, or 'Brendan' for short)

Although the castle itself is closed to the public, the surrounding estate is open to exploring. The estate includes a museum dedicated to Ireland's historic scientists showcasing their astronomy and botany contributions.

Construction of the Castle started in the 1620s after Sir Laurence Parsons received the lands on the death of the last O' Carroll family who owned the lands.

The O' Carrolls occupied the estate since the 14th century and held a tower on the site.

Fast forward a few generations the 3rd earl; William Persons an astronomer commissioned the construction of the "Rosse Telescope" (The great Telescope) which was completed by 1845. It remained the worlds largest telescope until the Hooker Telescope (LA) in 1917 and remained in operation until dismantlement in 1914. It has since been restored.



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