The Astronomy of Birr Castle

Author: Patrick Moore

The story of astronomy at Birr Castle in Ireland is among the most extraordinary events in the nineteenth-century science. Here in the 1840s, a distinguished telescope-maker and astronomer, the 3rd Earl of Rosse, built his 72-inch reflecting telescope, and so began an epic investigation deeper into the universe than had til then been possible.

Incredibly the ‘leviathan’ of Parsonstown as it came to be known, was to remain the world’s largest telescope until 1917. The work of the 3rd Earl was carried on after his death by the 4th Earl. And over several decades, Birr Castle witnessed such landmarks as the revolutionary discovery that nebulae could be resolved into separate star systems beyond our own galaxy.