Birr Castle: World’s largest telescope, 1845

Birr Castle and the Ingenious Telescope

Birr Castle and the Ingenious Telescope

A must for the scientific tourist!

In 1845, William Parsons, Third Earl of Rosse at Birr Castle, built the world’s largest telescope, the most powerful instrument of its time. With it Parsons discovered that many nebulae were actually spiral galaxies containing many millions of stars. He discovered a total of 16 spiral galaxies and he named the Crab Nebula.

Scientists came from around the world to marvel at this feat of engineering, which even features in a Jules Verne novel.

The reflecting telescope, the world’s largest for 70 years, is now restored to working order, and is the centrepiece of the demesne.  A visit here is a great day out: Birr Castle also has a science museum, the great telescope, stunning extensive gardens, and a cafe.

For more information:

Birr Castle telescope

Birr Castle on the Irish astronomy Heritage Trail.

You can visit Birr Castle and telescope on the “whiskey and castles” day tour from Dublin.

Facilities:  museum, parking, cafe and shop