Birr Castle, Co Offaly
Birr Castle celebrates the extraordinary work and scientific achievements of the Parsons family. Over four centuries they have made notable contributions to astronomy, photography, engineering and botany.
The grounds include a telescope that was once the world’s largest, and a museum of Irish science history.
generations of the Parsons family have contributed to the demesne, which includes exotic tree and plant collections, rivers and a lake, formal gardens, terraces and wildflower meadows.
The Historic Science Centre contains photographs and equipment belonging to Mary, Countess of Rosse, an early pioneer photographer in Ireland.
Birr Castle Demesne, Birr, Co Offaly.
Visit Birr Castle Demesne on the Web
Dublin Zoo, Phoenix Park, Dublin
Attractions of Dublin Zoo include seeing some of the most beautiful animals in the world, learning about the threats many of them face in their natural environments, and finding out how the zoo works to protect endangered species.
Besides opportunities to meet the keepers and seeing the animals, the zoo has a more formal education programme. Sessions for schools are linked to the syllabus at primary and secondary level. The topics include genetics, art, rainforests and conservation.
Visit Dublin Zoo’s website
Dunsink Observatory – Ireland’s space centre
If you’ve ever wished upon a star then Dunsink Observatory in Dublin is the place for you. The observatory is the oldest scientific institution in Ireland.
Dunsink’s claim to fame includes involvement in the first Irish space experiment aboard the shuttle Challenger in 1988.
Dunsink is open on the first and third Wednesday of each winter month (October to the end of March). You have to apply in writing for free tickets. Don’t forget to enclose a stamped addressed envelope. School trips can also be arranged
Dunsink Observatory, School of Cosmic Physics, Castleknock, Dublin 15
Visit the Dunsink Observatory website
Natural History Museum, Dublin
The museum has about 10,000 animals on display, from its full collection of over two million.
Star attractions include the skeleton of the Giant Irish Deer, the Basking Shark suspended from the ceiling, and the huge range of insect specimens, most carefully shielded from the light with heavy covers that have to be lifted back.
The museum in Kildare Street is currently closed as part of a major restoration project, but part of the collection is on show at the National Museum in Collins Barracks.
Visit the National History Museum website
Ireland’s new Science Gallery opened its doors in Dublin in 2008. It brings together scientists, artists, engineers, designers and members of the public to explore and celebrate science and art.
The gallery is located in the Naughton Institute on Pearse Street, in the grounds of Trinity College Dublin. It is a vibrant cultural centre where people of all backgrounds can share their interests.
Take a video tour of the Science Gallery…
Entrance is free, but you will need to buy tickets for certain workshops and events.
Visit the Science Gallery online and find out what else is on
William Hamilton Walks
William Rowan Hamilton discovered the formula for quaternions, a key concept in algebra.
The circumstances of his discovery have made it part of the folklore of maths. As he walked the eight kilometres (five miles) from Dunsink to the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin along the Royal Canal with his wife, the equation for quaternions came to him.
Excited by his discovery, and perhaps short of pen and paper, he carved the formula into the stone of Broome Bridge, between Cabra and Finglas. That moment is commemorated on 16 October each year in the Hamilton walk organised by the mathematics department at NUI Maynooth.
Check out Trinity College’s a substantial site about Hamilton’s life and work
Read an introduction to quaternions