MCS Trips to Birr Castle Observatories

Second Year Class groups were brought to Birr Castle Demesne during Nov/Dec. Fortunately, the weather was favourable for each group, allowing them to observe both magnificent telescopes.

Áine Flood, Education Manager at I-LOFAR, firstly brought the students to the historic Great Leviathon Telescope, with its 170-foot tube and 6 foot mirrors. It was built in 1845 and remained the biggest telescope in the world for nearly 100 years.  In huge contrast, the modern Irish Low Frequency Array Radio (I-LOFAR) Telescope, doesn’t appear like a telescope. It consists of an array of radio antennas (panels) flat on the ground. This telescope connects to the international LOFAR telescope, which is one of the most sophisticated and advanced astrophysics facility in the world.

Following this, the students went indoors for a space workshop, focussing on discoveries in space, advances in technology, how objects in space affect each other, and much more.

The students thoroughly enjoyed their trip, commenting on the enormity of the Great Telescope and ‘we learned a lot more than we expected’. It is wonderful to have such a great resource at our doorstep.