Fun Facts

The constellation known in English as ‘the Plough’ or ‘the Great Bear’ was known as sechtarré ‘seven stars’ in medieval Irish and the word grianchrios ‘sun-belt’ appears in a nineteenth-century Irish dictionary as a term for the Zodiac.

In the Middle Ages, a ‘moment’ was specifically 90 seconds!

In the fourteenth or fifteenth century, an astronomical text was translated into Irish from Latin. The Latin text was itself a translation of an earlier Arabic work written by Masha’allah ibn Athari, who was born in the eighth century and lived in the area of present-day Iraq.

The Great Telescope at Birr Castle, Co. Offaly, was the largest telescope in the world when it was built in the 1840s. With it, William Parsons discovered that many nebulae were actually spiral galaxies containing millions of stars.

One of the many objects taken to the moon on the first landing in 1969 was a message from Éamon de Valera, the President of Ireland at the time. The message was written in Irish and expressed the hope that the skill and courage which had enabled people to land on the moon would enable them also to secure peace and happiness on earth.