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European Heritage Open Day

Armagh Observatory will be opening its doors to the public on Saturday, 10th September as part of the 9th annual European Heritage Open Days organized by the Environment and Heritage Service. These Open Days are a Europe-wide celebration of our heritage, culture and architecture. This year 48 countries throughout Europe will be taking part by opening, free of charge, many properties not usually accessible to the general public.

The Armagh Observatory was founded in 1790 by Primate Richard Robinson, and built to plans drawn up by Francis Johnston. The recently restored building complex is of local conglomerate stone with ashlar limestone dressings and superior interior joinery. On the south side of the main building there is a high telescope tower with a dome. There is an 1820s extension to the east of the main building terminating in another telescope tower and dome. It is situated in 14 acres of landscaped gardens and grounds, containing two sundials, the Armagh Astropark, historic telescope domes, and a new outdoor exhibit, the Human Orrery. The Astropark, around the perimeter of the grounds, is a scale model of the solar system and the wider universe, while the Orrery is located close to the main building of the modern research centre). The grounds are open all year round during normal working hours. At other times, the Observatory is open by appointment only.

The Observatory's specialist Library and Archives and scientific instruments relating to the development of modern astronomy represent one of the main collections of its kind in the UK and Ireland. Meteorological records have been collected and maintained at the Observatory every day since 1795 and form one of the longest continuous such series in the UK and Ireland (see star.arm.ac.uk and climate.arm.ac.uk)

Access to the Observatory is from College Hill by the road leading off the northeast corner of the Mall, close to the Courthouse and opposite the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum. Guided tours are available on Saturday,10th September at 11:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:00 and 16:00. For European Heritage Open Days news and updates see www.ehsni.gov.uk

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John McFarland at the Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG. Tel.: 028-3752-2928; jmfarm.ac.uk

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Last Revised: 2005 September 5th
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