On Wednesday Mom attempted driving on the "wrong side" for the first time! We rented a car to drive down to an adorable Tea Room in Ballinahown just south of Athlone, to see more of the country side on our way to Birr Castle. It was a bit nerve wracking at first, especially because the roads are so tiny and cars and lorries come barreling toward you at 100km, but Mom did great!
We made it safely to Ballinahown and revived ourselves with a lovely lunch and tea in the beautiful tea room.
Their menu was an old altered book, such a cute unique presentation!
I loved the delicate mix matched floral china that held my loose leaf tea.
For lunch, a delicious open faced cheese sandwich with red onion relish.
Everything about this place was homey and comfortable and adorable!
We were revived and ready to hit the crazy narrow road again to Birr Castle.
The outside of the castle is absolutely glorious, but as a family still lives there (!!) we weren't able to tour the inside of it.
They do, however, have a lovely museum telling of all the interests and accomplishments of the inhabitants over the years, and brilliant gardens that we could walk through.
One of the most amazing things at the Birr Castle is the Great Telescope that the Third Earl of Rosse designed and built in the 1840's. It was the worlds largest telescope, and the first of its kind. People from all over Europe came to Birr to see the spiraling galaxies that the Earl described viewing from his telescope.
Seeing all of the gears and chains and all of the work that went into this grand piece of machinery was so amazing!
We continued walking the castle grounds admiring the lovely landscaping and flowers in the most perfect weather I think we have had so far in our time here.
One of my favorite places around the castle was waterfall point - the calming sound of a small tranquil waterfall over mossy stones with sunlight illuminating the already perfect scene.
Back up to the castle, then around the grounds to the formal gardens we headed.
Inside the formal gardens was a quaint little hothouse where richly colored flowers flourished.
And around the back of the hothouse was a charming apple orchard.
The sweet smell of ripe fruit in the warm sun wrapped itself around me
In the tangle of these branches I could find my gaze lost all day.
A brilliant afternoon at Birr Castle!