Inspirational: Tribute to scientific hub

In the early 1840s, William Parsons, the third earl of Rosse, designed and built the largest telescope in the world.

With it, his home, Birr Castle in Offally, became an international centre of cosmic inquiry.

Among his discoveries was the spiral nature of some galaxies.

Scientific brilliance clearly ran in the family as one of his sons invented the compound steam turbine, which revolutionised marine transport and naval warfare and led to the invention of the jet engine, while another became astronomer royal for Ireland.

The earl’s great work is still inspiring scientists, among them an international team of more than 200 astronomers from 18 countries who yesterday published in Dublin a new map of the sky.

Using the LOFAR telescope, a European network of radio antennae, they have discovered thousands of previously unknown galaxies.

LOFAR’s Irish station is in the grounds of Birr Castle.

Yesterday’s publication is a fitting tribute to what is still today a hub of scientific discovery and innovation.

More on this topic

WATCH: Seal copies human voice to sing 'Twinkle Twinkle' and Star Wars theme

‘We juggle custard and eat fire to make science fun’

West Cork-born scientist to outline the future of technology

Appliance of Science: Why do cats purr?

More in this Section

Donohoe pulled in two directions as he seeks to regain prudent reputation

Unanswered questions in Garda sick cert case

Boris’s boyhood dream may yet become Britain’s nightmare

G20 environment plan laudable but will be too little too late


Hozier adds more believers to his church after Cork gig

Simply off the wall: Your go-to guide to shelving

Peter Dowdall shares his top 4 flower picks to add a splash of summer colour to your garden

Ask a counsellor: ‘Why does my husband hate that our daughter’s dating a man going through divorce?’

More From The Irish Examiner