Pictured here is Birr Castle situated in the town of Birr, Co Offaly. It is the home of the 7th Earl of Rosse, and while the castle itself is a private home and off limits to visitors, the extensive grounds and gardens are open for the public to enjoy.
This place has been the site of a fortified castle since 1170 and was then the home of the O Carroll family. After the death of Charles O Carroll, the castle was gifted to Laurence Parsons in 1620, and it was at this point that construction began on the new castle which is the one we see here. The original castle of the O Carrolls, known as the Black Tower effectively disappeared.
Birr castle was again refurbished in the early 1800's by the 2nd Earl of Rosse who put the Gothic touches to its exterior. The second earls son, William Parsons was responsible for the construction of one of the most notable features of the grounds, the great telescope.
This great Telescope (a picture of this in the workshop) was completed in 1845 and at that time was the largest telescope on earth. It was capable of seeing deeper into space than any other and as a result of this Birr became a destination of choice for scientists and astronomers from all around the world. One of the more notable visitors was Charles Babbage.
The third earl discovered the Whirlpool Nebula here in the 1840's and to mark this occasion a spiral of lime trees were planted in the shape of the Whirlpool Nebula. These trees still live on today.
The castle grounds are home to a number of historical records. As well what was once the greatest telescope on the planet, you can also see the great Box Hedges. At 300 years old, these are recorded by Guinness book of records as the tallest hedges in the world.
The suspension bridge beside the castle dates to 1820 and is the oldest of its kind in Ireland.
The wildflower meadow has not been ploughed since 1620 and at its center sits the Carroll Oak; an oak tree that is over 500 years old. In addition to these features, the grounds also house formal walled gardens, a lake, two rivers, a waterfall, an ice house and a fernery. Inside the visitors center is an historical science exhibition featuring astronomical instruments, cameras, photographs and photographic equipment used by the Third and Fourth Earls and Mary, Countess of Rosse, in the middle and late 1800s.
In the workshop you can see the Great Telescope, and the people around it with the large rocket were students and teachers from schools around Ireland who were taking part in a science project to measure temperatures and pollen counts high up above the gardens. As well as the large rocket, they were also launching remote control helicopters taking sample jars high up in the atmosphere before dropping them with little parachutes. Its great to see this place of science is still being used for that purpose!
Thanks for looking.
Critiques | Translate
photographer_sg (4410) 2014-03-23 10:20
Beautiful view of the castle that has so much history and heritage attached to it. Charles Babbage ... wow. The framing with the lovely green foreground and the clear blue of the sky is fantastic. Great note.
Thanks for sharing and have a nice evening.
carlo62 (37171) 2014-03-23 10:35
bel castello, nella classica architettura irlandese.
Bello anche il contesto, la tua inquadratura è completa e ci permette di avere una vista dell'insieme.
ottimi colori e bella luce, oltre a una nota interessante e dettagliata.
Romano46 (18472) 2014-03-23 10:55
una foto nel tuo classico stile per un soggetto che è sempre piacevole: un castello, i colori della primavera,il cielo azzurro con belle velature.
Composizione impeccabile, colori perfetti, nitidezza e contrasto eccellenti valorizzano al meglio il soggetto.
Alla bella ripresa poi aggiungi sempre note molto precise e complete.
Ancora una volta i miei complimenti
Ciao e buona serata
cornejo (34626) 2014-03-23 12:12
Hi Noel, very good picture of this interesting castle, beautifully captured in this interesting image with good sharpness, light and color. Very good and interesting job well done, congratulations my friend. Thanks for sharing.
Good evening and happy start to the week.
Warm greetings from southern Spain.
mesutilgim (88126) 2014-03-23 13:51
Hello dear Noel,
A perfect capture a perfect TE entry with good photographyc quality and many interesting notes.
TFS and best regards
Subhogen (4067) 2014-03-23 18:37
Beautiful view of the old castle from the green lawns. One would associate this impressive castle more with history rather than science but from your elaborate note we learn that this has been a seat of scientific research for a long time and the nice WS photo shows that the scientific quest continues. I like those colourful trees contrasting so well with the grey castle. The clear blue sky is balancing the green lawns nicely. Good shot with beautiful colours and opulent light. Thanks for sharing.
Corry (4508) 2014-03-23 20:43
Beau point de vue sur ce château avec un bel avant plan de végétation. Les couleurs sont très belles. Bon cadrage. Note intéressante. Bien fait.
emka (84032) 2014-03-23 23:38
Hi Noel, You have so many castles. This one with a spring garden reminds me the masions I saw in England. Nice to see that you took your camera for a nice trip :).
WArm regrads MAlgo
timecapturer (49288) 2014-03-24 3:52
a magnificent looking castle this, and nice to see one that has been maintained and is still inhabited. Lots of real character here and this shot gives us a great idea of its scale and setting. Love the telescope image in the workshop. Jeeze! would I love to play with that rocket too! Big kid me as usual eh?
Have a good week - B.
jhm (142786) 2014-03-24 6:13
Your work shop picture is real something extraordinarily, I see that yet photographers have an interest.
Nice castle with the early colours of springtime in the garden in foreground.
Sharpness and clarity are very pleasant.
Excellent captured, nice presentation.
Very well done, TFS.
Have a nice workweek,
ourania (35009) 2014-03-24 9:56
The angle of the light wasn't convenient and this side of the castle is dark. You dealt with the challenge very effectively by giving much space to the bright foreground and surrounding the castle with more bright and vivid tones. Although it looks imposing and mysterious, the light, the cheerful colours and your note have created a very different aura for this castle compared to the previous one:) This looks like a fascinating place, your workshop picture is great and adds to this impression. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a great evening,
omid266 (6700) 2014-03-24 20:41
very very beautiful work here with nice colours , good POV,Nice moment with blue sky and this great Castle with an special career and history ,
What Paeceful place hunted with your camera ,
Thanks for sharing this Heritage of Ireland with us and also wish
for Protection of it ,
Greetings and Truly Yours
** Willst du gesund Sein ?!
Vergib den kochtopf !!
Book from (Helmut Wandmaker / 1916 - 2007 )
** Have a long and successful Life , **
Sonata11 (33526) 2014-03-24 22:34
Hello Noel, this composition is very beautiful, wonderfully executed. Magnificent colors, sharpness,perfect clarity. Wonderful POV and DOF as well great. Tfs and I love it.
All the best,Barbara
SnapRJW (31625) 2014-03-24 22:45
What a superb note Noel and the WS shot is a revelation! School has changed since my day.
An attractive shot, the castle has a more homely look than some of the old ruins you post. I think you chose a good vantage point here as the colourful shrubbery makes a wonderful contrast to the grey walls of the castle.
photoray (13182) 2014-03-25 6:59
Intriguing blend of excellent Gothic architecture and astronomy science. Your image's inclusion of the landscaping and hedging adds to the scene.
I miss the 20th century classical telescopes. Today's radioscopes lack the glass optics and attractive housing.
Thanks for sharing,
jcpix (13726) 2014-03-27 19:20
Proof you really do learn something new every day...who knew there was a record for the worlds tallest hedges?? Crazy fact, but very cool. Based on so many of your pictures, I'd say you hold the record for most blue skies seen in Ireland! :) I still challenge your rainy day exploits. lol
Love how you've constructed this shot, using ample foreground for color and lead in with the path, while the castle looks to be a Phoenix rising from the enveloping landscape. Full of varying shades of color, this is a beautiful presentation of this historical castle and grounds.
I just watched a seven minute video montage of a tourists trip through Ireland, absolutely amazing and charming. I really need to get myself over for a visit! Hope you've been well. Have a good one mate. Take it easy.
Cheers from the desert,
Fis2 (88763) 2014-03-28 11:46
Beautiful castle surrounded by vegetation.
Excellent colors and composition.
I like it.
Very well done.
pajaran (54125) 2014-03-28 13:47
Vrlo interesantan i dobar tekst o starom dvorcu, sa istorijom i opisom ...
Lep pogled na mesto i dvorac ...
Dobar snimak, ostrina, kontrast i perspektiva, lepo pokazano mesto i stara arhitekuta, lepe boje.
Dobar kompozicija, lepo mesto, dvorac i trenutak sa belim oblacima.
Prijatno vece i sve najbolje za vikend, srecno.
Very interesting and good article about the old castle, with a history and description of the ...
Nice view of the place and the castle ...
Good shot, sharpness, contrast and perspective, nice place and shown the old architecture, beautiful colors.
Good composition, nice place, a castle, and a moment with white clouds.
Good evening and all the best for the weekend, good luck.
Royaldevon (32563) 2014-03-28 14:46
I had to research this on a map for I had never heard of Co Offaly. I am amazed; I have been to Limerick and also, stayed with friends in Carlow and never heard of it. This site is obviously meeting its objective of giving people the opportunity of learning through photography.
This is a most beautiful castle, given this softened character by you, cleverly fronting it with colourful shrubs and setting it against a cloud-streaked, blue sky. I'm sure it would appear more austere if just presented as a grey, castellated building! The path works effectively as a lead line to the very strongly positioned building.
A very well taken photograph, showing fine details and nicely saturated colours.
My warm regards,
Oh, there are so many historic places I have to visit in your country! Have a good w/e.
macjake (59954) 2014-03-29 9:11
certainly different from the previous castle.
perhaps this one is looking a bit more 'liveable' in today's world of homes, especially if you took away the gothic touches on the exterior it could pass for a large mansion today. And maybe give it a bit of color too lol
God i'd love to see the inside area, i'm always intrigued by that, trying to imagine how they lived hundreds of years ago.
wonderful day for a photo, looks great with that touch of blue on the left. another sweet castle in Ireland, they seem to be endless.
Kamilutka (8103) 2014-03-31 1:37
very beautifully preserved castle and nicely presented in your picture. I like the POV you chose which gives us good view of the building as well as the park surrounding it. The abundance of the trees and bushes add very much to the beauty of this photo. Very nice colors, contrast and sharpness.
Thanks for sharing and have a nice day
Gigidusud (17615) 2014-04-05 12:27
Excellent POV, great framing and splendid light on this beautiful castle. Well done!
Periko (3267) 2014-04-13 18:42
The building does not have the typical shape of a castle, but it is nice and it is surrounded by a greenery which balances the composition very well.
Silentsoul (42) 2014-05-31 8:50
Hi Noel, beautiful capture with gr8 contrast of green grass and blue sky.
A good photographer like you must visit Iceland, which is photographer's heaven :)
Miguel82 (26198) 2014-06-30 21:04
Impressive monument in the bg Noel, typical Irish green bright hues, beautiful garden, good meteo, regards
- Copyright: Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) (26549)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2014-03-22
- Categories: Castles, Daily Life, Architecture
- Camera: Canon EOS 60D
- Exposure: f/11, 1/125 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Date Submitted: 2014-03-23 9:44