Birr Castle Demesne

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Garden Category: Republic of Ireland Gardens

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  • The gardens of Birr Castle Demesne are set in a large sprawling landscape with collections of some of the largest and rarest tree species found in Ireland and the world. Water is a prominent feature of the Demesne. Wherever you walk in the demesne you are always close to the water, be it the calming tranquillity of the lake in the centre of the Park with its lagoons and vistas or the surging power of the Camcor River which joins the Little Brosna River, not to mention the Waterfall and Gravity Fed Fountain in the Victorian Fernery.

    The gardens are a mix of styles with the formal gardens laid out in the 17th century with the clipped formality of the hornbeam Cloisters, yew and box. The tallest box hedges in the world can be found here along with herbaceous borders, rose garden, Glasshouse and our Delphinium Border. Looking out through the elaborate iron gates of the formal gardens you get a glimpse of another world filled with mighty beach and oak, rare and exotic trees collected from around the world and the vast expanse of the lake.

    Much of the plant collection is laid out geographically with collections from Chile, Mexico, South Africa and expansive material collected from China and the Himalayas where the present Lord and Lady Rosse have collected the most. The majority of the collection has been grown from wild seed collected by the Parsons family over the generations. The Gardens of Birr Castle Demesne have a rich history attached to them. The Demesne was the first garden in Ireland to receive specimens of tasequoia glyptostroboides. (Dawn Redwood) after its discovery in China in 1945 and has material collected by some of the most famous plant hunters past and present. The garden comes alive in spring with spring flowering bulbs and a vast magnolia collection. The garden has the largest number of Champion Trees in Ireland at 43 specimens as well as the largest known Populus canesens (Grey Poplar) in the world.

    Here you will get the best views of the Castle as you reach them along the Moat Walk. In summer they are a blaze of colour, full of a large range of herbaceous plants selected by Lady Rosse. You will look down over the river Camcor and view the 1820 suspension bridge, earliest in Ireland. Opposite, under the yew tree, is the ancient well of St. Brendan.

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