Birr, County Offaly

This former garrison town still retains some lovely Georgian houses. The rivers Camcor and Little Brosna join here , and there is good trout fishing. Birr Castle was originally an O'Carroll fortress and withstood many sieges.

Sir Laurence Parsons rebuilt the castle around a ruined keep in 1620 and his descendants , the Earl and Countess of Rosse , still live here. It's magnificent walled demesne and gardens include the tallest box hedge in the world and there is also an exhibition of the telescope built by the 3rd Earl in 1845 , which for 75 years was the world's largest.

Birr Castle is a real hidden gem and is a must see on your tours of Ireland.