The Armagh Observatory (see http://star.arm.ac.uk/) is the oldest continuously functioning astronomical research institute in Great Britain and Ireland, founded by Archbishop Richard Robinson in 1790 as part of his dream to see the creation of a university in the City of Armagh. It stands close to the centre of the City of Armagh together with the Armagh Planetarium in approximately 14 acres of attractive, landscaped grounds known as the Armagh Astropark. The Astropark, which is managed by the Observatory, includes two sundials and scale models of the solar system and the Universe, and features a number of outdoor exhibits and interpretation panels (see http://star.arm.ac.uk/astropark/). A new public outreach facility, the Human Orrery (see http://star.arm.ac.uk/orrery/), has recently been opened in the Observatory grounds to the south-east of the main building of the modern Observatory.
The principal function of the Armagh Observatory, which is a third-level institution funded by the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL), is to undertake original research of a world-class academic standard that broadens and expands our understanding of astronomy and related sciences. Current key programmes focus on Stellar Astrophysics, the Sun, Solar System astronomy, and Solar System - Earth relationships including the Sun's influence on climate and the impact of interplanetary dust, comets and asteroids on the Earth. The Observatory also maintains a unique 210-year long meteorological record and data-bank (http://climate.arm.ac.uk/), the longest in the UK and Ireland from a single site.