Birr Castle: An ideal location for I-LOFAR


Birr Castle, Co. Offaly is located in the midlands of Ireland and has been home to the Earls of Rosse since the early 1600s. The castle has a long and distinguished tradition in science, and most particularly in astronomy. The 3rd Earl of Rosse, who studied at Trinity College Dublin, was responsible for building the Great Leviathan Telescope in the 1840s. The Leviathan is a Newtonian reflector with a 1.8m aperture, and was the largest telescope in the world from 1845 until the construction of the 2.5 m Hooker Telescope in California in 1917. 

The Birr Castle Site offers a number of advantages as a site for an Irish LOFAR station. The site is large, flat, has a good view of the sky, is in a low RFI environment and will be leased to the LOFAR consortium. The Birr Castle tradition in astronomy also serves as a wonderful background for the establishment of a large radio telescope in Ireland.

Birr Castle is also host to Ireland's Historic Science Centre in the old stable block. With its cafe and shop you can then explore 50 hectares of park land, visit the magnificent Formal Gardens and terraces and discover Birr's most famous engineering and astronomical wonder - the Great Leviathan Telescope. 

Project contact point: Dr. Peter T. Gallagher

Click on the image above for a map to Birr Castle, Co. Offaly.