In the heart of Birr (a Georgian Heritage town) close to everything. For one or two people, this little studio & gallery is a lovely place to stay overnight, or for longer. With its own entrance from the street, it is set in a 'magical', tranquil courtyard garden. Delightful, relaxing accommodation, Ideal for those who enjoy its quirky, arty qualities and traditional Irish touches. A healthy, gourmet breakfast is included. Please read on!
This is a working artist's studio, a charming local arts hub, open to the public occasionally for exhibitions & art classes, film screenings and poetry readings. In between all this it offers unusual, well-priced Bed and Breakfast accommodation, seasonally.
Available as semi-self-catering (with breakfasts) or full self-catering for visitors using it as a base for touring the 'Middle Kingdom' region of Ireland. Perfect too, for writers and artists, who need a few days break away from routines to complete current works.
The accommodation is suitable for a solo or a duo: the options can be set up for two single divans or as one double divan. Excellent cafés and some good restaurants are nearby, and of course the main attraction, Birr Castle Demesne & Historic Science Centre. (Our studio is a very short stroll from the entrance and visitors staying here can avail of a €2 discount per entry ticket).
In 2000, Tin Jug Studio was the first gallery to open in County Offaly. Now open during local arts festivals for exhibitions, film screenings, poetry readings, art workshops, arts meetings and musical soirees. Writers have also found it ideal for the inspiration of new work, or putting the finishing touches to a soon-to-be-published novel. Others in the spheres of art have stayed too: musicians, dancers, actors. And people from the States, Canada, Germany, France, England, Italy, New Zealand, South America and many Irish!
Please read on for the essential details and options:
* The accommodation is upstairs and has comfy, adaptable divans (not full beds). There is a tiny kitchen space with cooker, fridge, microwave, toaster and kettle. Coffee and teas are provided, as well as a basic amount of glasswear, crockery and cutlery, pots and pans.
* A small shower-bathroom/loo (with towels, shampoos etc provided).
* A tiny balcony for sunny sitting.
* Breakfasts for those choosing semi-self-catering, are served downstairs in the gallery. With seating upon the antique Irish settle bed and antique chairs. (This overlooks the courtyard garden.)
* CD player and radio.
* Available for single nights, A TWO NIGHT STAY is preferred, and the nightly price is discounted for 3 or more nights (up to 7 nights.)
NOTE - Nota Bene! The Sleeping Arrangements:
* The beds are divans - adaptable platforms with comfy, foam mattresses. These are narrower than the standard single beds at 2 foot wide (600mm) x 6 foot long. The set-up options are for two, separate, single divans, or confirgured as a double (4 foot x 6 foot). Hence the very reasonable price to stay! The bedding of duvets and pillows (feather and foam) with freshly laundered sheets and towels are of course provided. There are extra blankets too.
* Whether staying one night or more, visitors are entitled to a €2 discount on the entry ticket to the demesne. (Note: this is entry to the gardens and Historic Science Centre. The castle, being a home, is only open for short periods with a guided tour that must be booked ahead. It is worth extending a stay in town to experience more of the area - making sure to take in The Famous & Notables of Birr Trail, created by two Birr artists as well as trips to bogs or further for boat tours.
* As this is a working arts studio, visitors need to be aware there are rather arty elements as part of the unique experience of staying here, from the big, papier maché fish suspended from the ceiling; art materials and publications, with paintings, photographs and wood carvings on show too. Visitors may of course use the art materials for sketching and painting.
* Breakfast Options - 'High Breakfast' or 'Low Breakfast':
Breakfasts are served in the gallery from 9.15am, to bring in fresh bread from the bakery. However, prior arrangements can be made to leave in cereals, milk and more to make a good, earlier repast possible.
* Included in the price as offered, is the Tin Jug Studio breakfast, greatly complimented by those who have stayed and loved it: A delicious and attractively presented Breakfast Basket includes a healthy repast with local and largely organic foods. Please note that dietry options are also happily catered for.
- 'Low breakfast' is something new on offer and for which please request an Airbnb 'Special Offer' discounted price. This is simply pared down to fresh fruit juice and fresh croissants (or wholewheat seeded bread, or scones) from the local bakery. There are of course plenty of award-winning cafés close by such as Nutmeg, Emma's, The Red Apple and The Loft for 'yummy' breakfasts with cappucinos.
- A cooked course is also possible, at extra cost for one-night stays, or free with two to three-night stays and more.
* The arts studio is entered by a separate entrance from the street. Once inside, it is mostly very quiet - some noise in the daytime from the yard over the wall, and some traffic noise. Usually very quiet at night.
Being in the 'Centre of the Universe', Birr is a lovely heritage town in the heart of the country. It is at the confluence of routes from North to South, East to West and was once within the ancient fifth province of Mide. It is where the Cain Adamhnán - The Law of The Innocents was enacted well over 1300 years ago, when bishops and noblemen travelled to meet in Biorra to enact this remarkable law.
There is so much to see and enjoy, which is not always well-promoted and is thus only well appreciated from experience. Yes, there are mountains for glorious un-touristy walks - soon cycling too - and this being the monastic Midlands there are places sacred to tread and marvel at, which once drew peole from all over Europe to study with the scholastic monks. Great river and lough trips give another flavour to visiting our 'boggy centre', where plains of healing herbs for grazing animals in Summer, and where migratory birds come to the Callows when the landscape changes to flood-lakes in the Winter.
Brendan House and Tin Jug Studio as a special place to stay whilst visiting all in and around the town, and for further explorations in the region and beyond. Our home and arts studio are a mere five minute walk from the main attraction, Birr Castle Demesne and Historic Science Centre. It astounds visitors to hear of the Parsons' family remarkable achievements and international impacts in astronomy, engineering and much more - all beginning in little Birr. Look up I-LOFAR for the latest news on Birr's role in monitoring the sun.
But you may find your own ancestral or cultural connections to this town too. With its astoundingly significant histories and its people of present and past eras, who have made their own marks locally, nationally and internationally.
There are a number of terrific arts festivals in Birr, aspects of which are largely centred within the Birr Theatre & Arts Centre. Seek out their website and Facebook page for upcoming events, performances, screenings, workshops etc. so perhaps time your visit for one of them. Tin Jug Studio may also be holding events or have artist-involvement during some of these festivals, but availability will be noted on the calendar. We have taken part in National Drawing Day annually (May) for many years. Art tuition can also be booked, for drawing and painting 'en plein air' with landscape artist Jock Nichol, or still life in the studio, with the resident artist, Rosalind.
Our SEASONAL ARTS FESTIVALS:
May: Music Festival
June: Scripts Playwriting Festival
(NOTE: for a week in July & October, we have our Writers' Residencies here.)
August: Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival
October: OFFline Film Festival
November: Hullabaloo Children's Arts Festival
* Ask about special offers and options, which may include art tuition, pleasant pampering treats and guided hill walks, trekking on horseback in the hills, music nights at Leap Castle, etc., etc.
* Bookable treats - at Tin Jug Studio:
Reflexology with Brenda Kelly Abeyta - €50. Superb and immensly relaxing!
Birr is a charming Georgian Heritage town, with the impressive attraction of Birr Castle Gardens and Historic Science Centre. With its fascinating histories from monastic times onwards, it is a town strong in the arts and there are excellent community resources, including a fine theatre, town parks, an excellent leisure centre. There are great small shops, lovely cafés, a few of which serve locally grown and organic foods. They all have fine coffees and some bake their own breads and cakes and daily specials. Nearby, a few good restaurants for dinner - particularly the 'posh' gourmet Sanjay's Kitchen Indian restaurant and Spinners Bistro-Bar, on Castle Street.
Pubs? Of course! A small list of recommended imbibing places is available in the rooms - there are assorted music nights, and occasionally there are art exhibitions on show. For very memorable and superb music nights at Leap Castle, enquire about getting advance notice, on the music promoters texting list. Leap Castle is home to the renowned tin whistler Sean Ryan, and is declared as 'Ireland's most haunted castle'. Open for unscary tours!
A tranquil riverside walk, starting from the front door, and going into the countryside, woods and up a hill with evocative views is a very pleasant way to amble in peace for an hour or more. The little theatre has a very good seasonal programme - take a look at the Birr Theatre & Arts Centre website for current details and bookings. It is the hub for Birr's arts festivals, some seminars, and art exhibitions.
Come by car if you're planning to tour the area and wider region.
Head off for walks in the Slieve Blooms (bring good boots and appropriate wear. We have local maps to borrow or we can offer guided walks and picnics.) There's a bike park being created and routed in the mountains, and exciting downhill tracks at the Bike Park at Fairymount Farm - bikes are there for hiring. Also, lovely walking and cycling around Lough Boora and Sculpture Park near Kilcormac.
If you must - there a very good course in Birr for 'goffers'. However, golfers prefer the hotels and very posh B&Bs but a non-golfing partner might enjoy a day's art-tuition, with refreshments, at Tin Jug Studio.
(Please look at the Brendan House listing and our website for some more detailed information.)
Birr, County Offaly, 愛爾蘭