Birr Castle Demesne makes Lonely Planet list 


Birr Castle Demesne has made the list of the top eight hidden treasures in Ireland for visitors, writes Shauna McCrudden

Birr Castle Demesne

Birr Castle Demesne in Co Offaly is officially one of the top eight hidden treasures in Ireland for visitors. This is not the first time Birr has made it onto a Lonely Planet list, being named as one of the top ten most child-friendly castle estates in the world in 2019. But this year, it has been described by Tom Hall of The Lonely Planet as a place where “travellers can escape the mundane of lockdown once measures have been lifted and reignite the sense of wonder and discovery”.

Grainne O’Malley, General Manager, Birr Castle Demesne says, “We are delighted, but not surprised, to have made this list. Anyone who knows Birr Castle Demesne, including the Parsons family who have had the honour of living here for over 400 years, our wonderful local members, and visitors from all over the world are blown away by what Birr has to offer to all generations. From family trails to world-class gardens, to our science centre and our beautiful castle.

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“New this year and suitable for all generations is the 2km hour-long Solar Trail, which explores our galaxy, perfect for all those interested in the skies above. And the 5km Red Tree Trail (65 trees of distinction) which can be enjoyed over multiple visits if needed.”

Birr Castle Demesne Formal Gardens

For younger visitors, the popular Quest, a fun trail for the young, explores a variety of interesting sites within the Demesne, from the Great Telescope to the Icehouse. Also new this year is the opportunity to try your hand at the Japanese spiritual practice of shinrin-yoku, or Forest Bathing. 

Grainne adds, “Special areas of Birr Demesne have been reserved for this practice renowned for boosting our immune systems.”

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Birr Castle Demesne is on the list compiled by Sony Mobile in association with travel publication, Lonely Planet. This also includes Mizen Head Cliffs, Co Cork; Lackan Strand, Co Mayo; Sky Garden, Russagh, Co Cork; Garnish Island, Bantry Bay, Co Cork; Slieve Bloom Mountains, Co Laois, (perfect to visit on the same day you are visiting Birr); Sliabh Liag (Slieve League) Cliffs, Co Donegal; and Cobh, Co Cork.

Birr Castle Demesne has successfully completed the Fáilte Ireland Covid-19 Safety charter. There is a lovely café take-out available from Woodfield in the Courtyard and bathroom facilities available onsite. The Science Centre is now open and it is hoped to run guided Castle Tours as soon as it is safe to do so. Visitors are invited to check out all updates on the web. 

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