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STEAM - October 2024
Engineering Heritage Festival


The inaugural Birr STEA M  Engineering Festival will provide an opportunity for engineering heritage enthusiasts to gather at one of the most interesting scientific locations on the island of Ireland. If you are unaware of the role Birr and Newcastle-on-Tyne has played in the industrial revolution of the 19th and 20th Centuries, then do join us for a weekend of revelation and celebration of some of Ireland’s amazing engineering heritage


18th to 20th October 2024 - Birr (County Offaly)
Full Agenda :

Friday 18th:

9am to 5pm – Discover Birr Castle Demesne by taking on the engineering trail through the gardens and science centre.


7pm - Welcome reception with tea and sandwiches followed by opening lecture in Birr Theatre and Arts Centre

8pm Lecture

  • Lady Alicia Clements – Introduction to the Engineering Weekend Festival

  • John Burgess – The Parsons Families of the 19th Century

Saturday 19th:

10.00am Lecture - Power on Land

  • Welcome and Opening Remarks - Brian Leddin TD – Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action

  • Evolution of the Parsons Land Steam Turbine - Geoff Horseman (Formerly Head of Turbine-Generator Engineering at Parsons and Chief Turbine Engineer at Siemens Newcastle-Upon-Tyne)

11.30am guided discovery tour in Birr Castle Gardens to visit 

  • The Leviathan and LOFAR Telescopes – Peter Gallagher

  • The refurbished suspension bridge, 

  • Rejuvenated hydro-electric turbine, and

  • The secret of the lake’s ingenious water level management system. 


1.15pm Lunch at the Kellys Bar


2.30pm Lecture – Power at Sea

  • Turbinia – a daring entrepreneurial venture in marine propulsion

  • Jody Power - Marine Propulsion Steam Turbines from Parsons to the Modern Era 

6.30 pm Reception in John’s Hall, Birr.
8.00 pm Dinner in Doolys Hotel

Sunday 20th:

10am - Lecture – Power to Change

  • Benita Stoney - The Stoney family collaboration and achievements

  • Una O’Grady - Renewable Energy in the Midlands – Wind, Water and Stars

  • Stephen Grant - Engineering at a time of change – 21st to 19th Centuries parallels to inform a paradigm shift in addressing climate change

  • Lady Alicia Clements - Farewell notes

1pm and 2pm – Guided tours of the Castle

Book your Space Today!

(General Release Price €200).

Friday 18th
Saturday 19th
Sunday 20th
Book your space now

The 3-day event will include all lectures, refreshments on the Friday evening, lunch, and dinner on the Saturday and access to the Birr Castle Demesne with guided tours on the Saturday and Sunday. Accommodation is not included and details are provided below for those intending to stay over in Birr.

Limited accommodation has been held at the following locations until the 30th June after which the rooms will be released for general reservations.



  • Please contact the hotel by email or phone before 1st July to make the reservation. Thereafter the rooms will be released for general bookings through all channels.

  • Please book early when planning your trip to avoid travelling from other towns in the region for each day.

  • Please do NOT reserve your room using the hotel’s website or other web-based booking system if doing so before 1st July. Use the details provided below.

  • When Booking please make sure to use the code "EngineeringHeritageFestival"


Dooly’s Hotel

Tel.: +353 57 9120032



County Arms Hotel

Tel.: +353 57 9120791



Townsend House

Tel.: +353 57 9121276



The Stables

Tel.: +353 57 9120263


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