Castle sights in County Offaly
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It's easy to spend half a day exploring the attractions and gardens of Birr Castle Demesne. The castle is a private home, however, and cannot be visited. Most of the present building dates from around 1620, with alterations made in the early 19th century.
The 50-hectare castle grounds are famous for their magnificent gardens set around a large artificial lake. They hold over 1000 species of plants from all over the world; something always seems to be in bloom. Look for one of the world's tallest box hedges, planted in the 1780s and now standing 12m high, and the romantic Hornbeam cloister.
The Parsons were a remarkable family of pioneering Irish scientists, and their work…