Fodor's Expert Review Birr Library
In keeping with the historic townscape character, it's worth calling in here to see what ranks as one of Ireland's most spectacular locations for a library. Based in the ground floor of the Birr municipal offices (and a former convent), the building was designed by A. W. N. Pugin and completed by his son Edward in the mid-19th century. The former chapel—which is now the library—has retained the exquisite Gothic-style stone, mullioned, stained-glass windows. Upstairs you will find a facsimile of an early Christian illuminated manuscript, the Gospel Book of MacRegol, also known as the Book of Birr and the Rushworth Gospels, on permanent display. MacRegol was a scribe, bishop, and abbot in Birr. The original manuscript, which is now in Oxford's Bodleian Library, was produced around AD 800 and consists of 169 vellum folios or leaves. The library also offers Internet service.