General Information

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 iin 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. The observatory is used nowadays mainly for public outreach, small workshops and conferences, and as visitor accommodation for the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Its various rooms can also be hired by external parties for small meetings, away days, specialist workshops, training sessions, product launches etc. For more information on hiring these rooms or holding events in this venue check out External Use .

Open Nights are held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays 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 (including a short 3D movie taking you on a trip through space) and lectures on a wide variety of topics in astronomy. There is also a question and answer session on all your astronomy related queries. Open nights are free of charge.

Introducing Astronomy to Youth/Family groups

From time to time Dunsink Observatory holds a special evening for parents and children who want to learn more about astronomy and space. This family event evening kicks off at approximately 7:30 pm with a short presentation, followed by live stargazing (weather permitting) and a lively question and answer session. The evening presents an exciting opportunity for parents and children to meet a real astronomer and explore the night sky together

Access and Facilities


Open Nights are held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month during the winter months (free, but booking required).


Venue For Hire Parking Bathroom Facilities


AddressDunsink Observatory, Castleknock, Dublin 15.

If you wish to attend the Open Nights, please contact Hilary O’Donnell, Tel: 087-6294966, E-mail:

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