Dunsink Observatory, opened in 1785, was the first building in Ireland specifically constructed for scientific research. It was where our greatest mathematician and arguably our greatest scientist, William Rowan Hamilton, lived and worked. And it was the place where the time standard for Ireland was set using astronomical observations until the first world war. Dunsink time is mentioned several times in James Joyce’s great novel Ulysses, and the clocks used are still on display in the Observatory today. Originally part of Trinity College Dublin, it was purchased by the state in 1947 when the School of Cosmic Physics was being established as part of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS).
The observatory is used nowadays mainly for public outreach, operated by the Astronomy and Astrophysics section of DIAS. It is also used for small workshops and conferences, and as visitor accommodation for the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Visitor Nights are held on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month during the winter months (October-March). Weather permitting, visitors can view celestial objects through the historic Grubb Telescope. Visitors can also attend audio-visual presentations and lectures on a wide variety of topics in astronomy. There is also a question and answer session on all your astronomy related queries.