Birr Castle was once known throughout the world as a centre for astronomy. Our tour takes children through the science galleries of Ireland's Historical Science Centre, to learn about the construction of the largest telescope in the world and the scientific achievements of the Parsons family and into the grounds to see the restored telescope. Working in teams, the children build rockets and launch them in a game that teaches them about the solar system. Suitable for 3rd to 6th class
Discover Primary Science and Maths Tour Suitable for 3rd to 6th class.
At Birr Castle Gardens and Science Centre your class will enter a world of fun-filled exploration. There will be no time to be bored as they encounter rivers, waterfalls, a lake, a 17th century castle, the famous Great Telescope, the historical Science Centre, Ireland’s Tallest Treehouse, an epic bouncy pillow and the opportunity to launch their own rockets. Take your explorers on a journey like no other, through history, science and fun! Our Discover Science and Primary Maths Tour guarantees a fun and educational day. Please note if your school is participating in the Discover Primary Science and Maths Programme, a visit to us will count towards your Award of Science Excellence. The tour lasts approximately three hours including breaks and as such is designed to fit into your school day.
The programme consists of:
- A guided tour of the Science Centre galleries of Birr Castle Demesne including information on the great telescope and the Parsons family.
- A visit to the great telescope in the gardens, which dates back to 1845.
- An interactive workshop where the children work in groups to build and launch rockets, make observations and record results.
- Access to the Treehouse Adventure Area and plenty of picnic tables which can be used for lunch.
- Teachers notes will be provided in advance if required. A workbook will be given to each child on the day, which can be used for follow-up work in class.
Cost of €10.00 per child with all teachers free of charge.
Further T&C apply. Booking forms and further information can be found on: birrcastle.com/science/schooltours
A New Frontier for Astronomy at Birr Castle Demesne
We are delighted to report that Irish astronomer have begun building a major new radio telescope at Birr Castle Demesne. The radio telescope, called the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), will connect Ireland to a huge international network of radio telescopes that will stretch almost 2,000 km across Europe from Ireland to Poland. This will allow scientists to make spectacular images of exploding stars, work out what happened soon after the Big Bang, and even find new planets orbiting distant stars. Maybe we might even find little green men … from Birr!
In addition to the new radio telescope, we are also building an Astronomy Education Centre, which we aim to open to groups of visiting students from Spring 2018. The Education Centre will include exhibits that explain how the LOFAR radio telescope works and the kinds of exotic astronomy that Irish scientists will be doing with the new radio telescope in Birr.
But until then, visitors to Birr Castle Gardens can visit the wonderful Science Education Centre and the great Leviathan telescope of Birr (birrcastle.com) - a great day out for kids and families alike, with lots to learn about Ireland’s past leadership in all things astronomical.