Birr Castle Tree House
Adventure play: Just for fun
Form of contract: Commercial terms
Blue Forest have recently completed construction of Birr Castle Tree House, the tallest tree house in Ireland. Standing more than 3 stories high, the treehouse is the centerpiece for a new adventure playground at Birr Castle, Demesne.
Birr Castle is set in the Irish midlands, in in County Offaly, and is the home of the seventh Earl of Rosse. Whilst the residential parts of the castle are closed to the public, the grounds and gardens of the castle (the demesne) are open to the public.
Among the main features of Birr Castle is the “Great Telescope”, built by the third Earl of Rosse in 1845. As its name suggests, it was the world’s largest telescope until 1917 when the Hooker Telescope surpassed it in size. As a result, the demesne is now also home to Ireland’s Historic Science Centre.
Now the Birr Castle Demesne also boasts a breathtaking 3-story fairytale treehouse.
A real treehouse fairytale castle
The Birr Castle Treehouse fits perfectly in the beautiful natural surroundings of the Castle, which is also home to some of the rarest tree species found anywhere in the world.
The structure has been designed to resemble an adventurous fairytale castle, blending effortlessly with the architecture of the main castle and echoing elements of the build in its own design. Round turrets and Gothic-style windows transport the visitor back in time.
Its latest treehouse attraction is yet another innovation which reflects the heritage and scientific history of the Castle and the Parsons Family, having been a hub for scientific innovation for centuries with its Great Telescope (built by the third Earl of Rosse in the 1840s).
The Birr Castle Treehouse project was commissioned by Birr Castle and the Offaly Local Development company.
A fantastical playground with giant pillows and hobbit houses
Amongst the labyrinth of turrets, the Birr Castle Treehouse and Adventure Playground feature tree decks linked by rope bridges, secret tunnels, a giant bouncing pillow, hobbit house, sand play area, scramble nets and climbing rocks, swings and slides and a picnic area.
Blue Forest worked closely with the development team to design and build the adventure play area, which forms a key part of the castle’s continual development plan to increase visitor numbers and cater to a wider family audience.
One of the key considerations during the design of the play area was to provide visitors with a high level of play value. Each play element is full of intrigue and contains multiple options for adventurous and imaginative play.
The position and style of the treehouse has been chosen provide a dramatic view for visitors to the castle and garden.
The grand opening
The adventure playground was officially opened by Frances Fitzgerald (TD), Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, to mark the start of National Recreation Week, along with Lord and Lady Rosse of Birr Castle and their grandchildren Olivia (7) and William (5).
Since the opening of the treehouse adventure playground, Birr Castle has experienced a significant increase in visitor numbers. The treehouse has also been featured in a wide variety of national and international press, including The Sunday Times, The Herald, Irish Times, The Irish Times Magazine and The Sunday Business Post.
“If my grandchildren are anything to go by the Tree House and Adventure Playground will be top of everyone’s must visit list this summer. We look forward to welcoming people to one of the few public Tree Houses in the world.”
Lord Rosse, Owner Birr Castle – Speaking at the launch of the treehouse.
“As Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, it is very fitting for me to be launching such a wonderful imaginative project at the start of National Recreation Week. Recreation is integral to children’s lives and a project like this supports children in their development at all kinds of levels physical, emotional and social. I would like to thank the Offaly Local Development Company Board and Fáilte Ireland for their generous support of the Tree House and Adventure Playground and the Parsons’ family for hosting us all here today. I look forward to hearing from children today what aspects of the Adventure Playground have fueled their imaginations.”
Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald – Speaking at the launch of the treehouse.