Birr Castle: World’s largest telescope, 1845

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 restored to working order. Facilities include a science museum, the great telescope, gardens and cafe.

For more information:

Birr Castle telescope

Birr Castle on the Irish astronomy Heritage Trail.

Facilities:  museum, parking, cafe and shop

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