Discover 7 Places Relating to Astronomy in Ireland

As Science Week approaches, we’re looking at the places across Ireland where it’s possible to find out more about the fascinating world of astronomy. Astronomy is an area of science that is still very much explored and celebrated in Ireland and if you’re keen to discover more about this area then below are seven locations in Ireland where you can soak up the best of Irish astronomy.

1 BIRR Castle and science centre, County Offaly


Birr Castle is famous for being the location of the Great Telescope at Birr, a telescope that was designed by the Third Earl of Rosse in the early 1840s. The telescope was the largest telescope in the world at the time and attracted many visitors from near and far who wanted to see the telescope up close and to observe the stars from it. It is quite possibly the largest and most historic working scientific instrument in existence today, Named the ‘Leviathan’, the telescope still sits in a building within the gardens at Birr Castle. In the Science Centre at Birr Castle, visitors can find out more about the telescope’s history, as well as soak up other exhibitions detailing star constellations and different astronomical methods.

Find out more about the history of Birr Castle as part of our Historic Ireland series.

Check out the latest hotel deals in Birr and take in the wider sights and sounds in the area.

2 Armagh Planetarium, County Armagh

Armagh Planetarium is one of Ireland’s leading centres for astronomy. The centre includes an impressive Digital Theatre, where visitors can soak up footage of the night sky and different star constellations. The centre also has various exhibition areas offering more opportunities to learn about the cosmos. One exhibition includes the display of the largest meteorite, which is 4.6 billion years old and possible to touch. What’s more, there are scale models of the International Space Station and Hubble Space Telescope, as well as an Astropark where visitors can experience a scale model of the universe.

Visit the orchards and enjoy Armagh’s many great eateries as part of a longer trip to Armagh. Check out the latest hotel deals in the area.

3 Crawford Observatory, County Cork

Now part of Cork University, Crawford Observatory dates from 1880 and, with the help of several benefactors, has been maintained over the year. Within the observatory is an equatorial telescope, designed by Howard Grubb, who did, in fact, receive a Gold Medal at the Paris Exhibition of 1900 for his efforts and designed the whole of the observatory. The observatory also contains a Ciderostatic telescope and Spectroscope. Today, visitors can come and admire these wondrous instruments and the effort that clearly went into designing them.

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4 Inishowen Penninsula, County Donegal


The Northern Lights are a spectacular sight with their combination of pink, green and blue colours splashed across the night sky, and the Inishowen Penninsula is supposedly the best place in Ireland to see them in all their glory. The area’s combination of solar conditions, clear skies to the north and reduced light pollution is what apparently makes the area such a perfect spot for viewing. Therefore, with the right conditions, all that is needed is transportation to this most northerly point in Ireland for an experience you will most definitely not forget.

Check out the latest hotel deals in Donegal to guarantee you don’t miss the best of the Northern Lights.

5 Dunsink Observatory, County Dublin  

Dunsink Observatory, part of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, opened in 1785 and was supposedly the first building in Ireland being used specifically for scientific research. The observatory was once the home of William Rowan Hamilton, a well-known mathematician and scientist. Dunsink time is featured in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses, and the clocks used are still on display in the Observatory today. The Observatory was once part of Trinity College Dublin but was taken over by the state in 1947. Open Nights are held at the Observatory between October and March, whereby visitors can enjoy several experiences such as viewing of celestial objects through the historic Grubb Telescope and a 3D movie which takes visitors on a trip through space.

Check out the Dublin’s best hotel deals and enjoy even more highlights in the area.

6 Lough Gur, County Limerick

Lough Gur, an archaeological site, has over 6,000 years worth of history and an intriguing part of its history includes the Dark Sky Project.

In addition to the great stone circle that lies on the site, archaeologists and teams of professionals are convinced that the people who gathered around at Lough Gur 6,000 years ago would have pondered on the night sky and how it impacted their belief systems and annual cycles of life. A culture and belief system that would have focused on the seasonal movements of sun, moon and stars. With that in mind, the Dark Sky Project is working towards preserving the dark sky around the area and ensuring visitors today appreciate its significance.

Find the latest hotel deals in Limerick and enjoy some stargazing.

7 Blackrock Castle Observatory, County Cork

Blackrock Castle Observatory is a special observatory in that it is housed in the grounds of such a beautiful and historic castle. Visitors can find out more about the history of the castle, a castle built in the 16th Century then restored in the 1800s, and also take part in the Cosmos at the Castle, an award-winning interactive astronomy exhibition. There is also the daily planetarium, where visitors can soak up the wonders of the night sky and even send a message to space!

Discover Cork’s latest hotel deals as part of a longer stay in the county.

Do you know any other places to explore Ireland’s astronomy?

Comment below with any places to visit.


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