The Armagh Observatory is the oldest continuously functioning astronomical research institute in the UK and Ireland. The Georgian Grade A listed building and nineteenth and twentieth century telescope domes, each with unique architectural features, house one of the most valuable scientific archives and book collections in Northern Ireland, and contain scientific artefacts, instruments and historic telescopes which together encompass virtually every aspect of modern astronomy.
The Observatory's heritage policy is to place restored instruments in their original location in the building so far as possible, and to maintain the integrity of the library and historic archives as a coherent entity for future generations. In this way, visitors, researchers and others who use the Observatory will clearly appreciate the context of their use and the historical development of astronomy.
The more than 210 years of continuous astronomical activity in Armagh gives astronomers a unique opportunity to explain the development of their subject over a period at least this length of time, and the reasons for its location in Armagh, the context in which modern research is carried out, and why astronomy has grown (and continues to grow) so very rapidly in the modern era. The location of the Observatory close to the centre of the City of Armagh, means that it is readily accessible and well placed to contribute to the Armagh story. In addition to its primary function as a modern astronomical research institute, the Armagh Observatory has an important role to play in explaining the development of astronomy, both ancient and modern. In this way, the Observatory can make a significant contribution to explaining the history of science, the preservation of Northern Ireland's cultural and built heritage, and the provision of enhanced opportunities for lifelong learning in the broadest sense.