I drove into Birr. The road ends at the walls of Birr Castle.
Birr Castle is the private home of the Earls of Rosse and family. It is not open to the public, but the grounds and gardens are.
“Another notable castellated range is at Birr Castle, Co. Offaly. This was built during the early nineteenth century, when the earlier castle was extensively remodeled and extended. The gates spread as a long and fairly low battlemented range, with a central pointed archway flanked by round towers, each linked by single-storey walls to small outer square towers. Each tower has a rectangular window-opening with drip mountings above and the spandrels of the central archway are decorated by cross arrow-slits. Pedestrian doorways are set in the flanking walls adjacent to the round towers.”
The Follies and Garden Buildings of Ireland by James Howley
There has been a castle here since at least 1170, once ruled by the O’Carroll family. In 1620, Birr Castle and 1,277 surrounding acres were granted to Sir Laurence Parsons. Beginning with the gatehouse of the original castle, he built the castle mostly the way we see it now. Laurence Parsons, 2nd Earl of Rosse added Gothic touches in the early 1800s.
The private grounds are protected by a moat.