Fine furniture to see at Birr Castle this summer
Parsons family to open house to the public this summer for tours of Co Offaly castle
Inside Birr Castle, Co Offaly, which will open its doors to the public this summer for 45-minute tours. Photograph: Paul Sherwood Photography, www.sherwood.ie
For years Birr Castle gardens and science centre have been a magnet for a wide variety of visitors. Astronomers are keen to investigate its interactive displays of scientific equipment and marvel at the Great Telescope, while gardeners want to wander the demesne’s 120 acres of parkland and explore its many peaceful paths lined with rare trees and flowers.
Those interested in great Irish house interiors and furniture will be interested to learn that the Parsons family – who have lived in Birr since 1620 – have opened their home to the public for the summer months.
A 45-minute tour of the castle’s main reception rooms, with a guide on hand to discuss the antique furniture, family portraits, chandeliers and tapestries in each room, costs €18 per adult, and includes access to the gardens and science centre; there is also a cafe and gift shop.
Castle tours are suitable for years 12 and above only. Birr Castle Gardens is open daily 9am to 6pm, with tours Monday to Friday at 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm and 1.30pm each day; pre-booking is essential. birrcastle.com.