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The town is known for Birr Castle and its gardens, home of the Parsons family and also the Leviathan of Parsonstown which was the largest telescope in the world for over 70 years.Birr lies on the N52 and N62 national secondary roads. The R439, R440 and R489 regional roads also terminate in the town.The Synod of Birr, held in 697, was the occasion on which the Cáin Adomnáin, or law of innocents, was pronounced.In Gaelic Ireland, Birr was located in the O'Carroll territory of Éile.On the Wilmer road, near the County Arms Hotel is the beautiful Gothic-style Catholic church of 1817–25. Brendan's Church of Ireland was also built in Gothic style in 1815 and is located in the Oxmantown Mall.A smaller Methodist Church known as Wesley Chapel was built in 1820 on Emmett Street to accommodate a growing Methodist congregation following the preaching of John Wesley in the late 18th century in Birr.The Oxmantown Mall was laid out in the early 19th Century and was designed as a promenade leading from Birr Castle gates to the Church of Ireland.The mall is tree lined on one side with the Georgian houses on the other.
The nightclub attached to the hotel is named "Melba's" to mark the occasion.
Birr Castle is the oldest inhabited home in the county.