Friday, March 17, 2006

Astronomy in Ireland

In recognition of St. Patrick's Day, check out a story I wrote a couple of years ago about visiting Birr Castle in County Offaly, Ireland. Birr Castle is the site of the famous "Leviathan," which at one time was the largest telescope in the world. The Earl of Rosse who built the telescope used it to first discern the spiral structure of the Whirlpool Galaxy. They have a really nice, recently redesigned web site, if you want to read more.

More fun Irish facts:

The Washington Post notes today that over 34 million Americans describe themselves as having Irish ancestry, which is more than 9 times the current population of Ireland. Of course, before the Famine, there were something like 10 million people in Ireland, which is hard to believe if you've been there. It must have been terribly crowded.

In 1981 I went to see the Rolling Stones at Slane Castle in Ireland and there were reportedly a million people there. Which at the time, was 1/3 of entire population of the Republic. At one rock show.

And for those of you with XM Radio, you can listen to great Irish music all day on channel 15.


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