BIRR CASTLE

From Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland (1900)

« County Kilkenny | Book Contents | County Leitrim »

Description of King's County | Birr Castle | Great Telescope, Birr | Cumberland Square, Birr | Seven Churches, Clonmacnoise | King's County Map

BIRR CASTLE.—This edifice is one of the most interesting in Ireland from its romantic and historical associations. Birr derives its name from Biorra, an ancient abbey, founded by St. Brendan. A great battle was fought there in the 3d century between Cormac, son of Con of the Hundred Battles and the people of Munster. The district originally formed a part of Ely O'Carroll, and the castle was the seat of the O'Carroll chieftains. It was "granted" by King Henry II. to Philip de Worcester, but its owners defended their territory so vigorously and persistently that it frequently alternated between its English and Irish masters. It was not included in Kings County until the reign of James I. That monarch assigned it to Laurence Parsons, brother of Sir William Parsons, surgeon-general. Cromwell attacked it, and his son-in-law Ireton took it in 1650, and it was again beseiged in the Jacobite war of 1688-90. It has been noted in recent years as the residence of the Earl of Ross—descendant of the Parsons—famed for his astronomical pursuits, and his great reflecting telescope. The castle has been renovated so often that it is practically a modern structure.

Birr Castle, County Offaly

Birr Castle

Description of King's County | Birr Castle | Great Telescope, Birr | Cumberland Square, Birr | Seven Churches, Clonmacnoise | King's County Map

« County Kilkenny | Book Contents | County Leitrim »


Library Ireland Facebook