The Power of People
The Power of People
From 1874 until 1878 the famous Danish astronomer, Louis Emil Dreyer, took meteorological readings at Parsonstown Castle, County Offaly. Dreyer was Assistant to Lord Rosse at Birr Castle, where Leviathan, the largest telescope in the world, was in operation. Dreyer went on to publish the monumental “New general catalogue of nebulae and clusters of stars”, a comprehensive survey of star clusters, nebulae and galaxies. In 1916 he won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society and he later served as the Society's president from 1923 until 1925. The Met Éireann Library holds meteorological manuscripts from Birr Castle dating from 1872 until 1951.
Dreyer (© Armagh Observatory)
At his home at 40 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin, the famous physician Sir John William Moore, took daily readings under the direction of the Meteorological Office in London. Moore’s passion for meteorology was based on his interest in the relationship between climate and public health. He was a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, a member of the Royal Irish Academy and was appointed as the President of the Royal College of Physicians. Moore supplied continuous meteorological data from 1869 until his death in 1937 just one year after the establishment of the Irish Meteorological Service, now Met Éireann. The Met Éireann Library holds the complete set of meteorological manuscripts from 40 Fitzwilliam Square.
John William Moore (© RCPI Library)
From 1874 until 1876 meteorological observations at Markree Castle, County Sligo were taken by a lady of Danish origins named Anna Doberck. Anna’s brother, William, was an acclaimed astronomer and he was in charge of the observatory at Markree from 1874 until 1882. Anna assisted William at the observatory. It was while the Dobercks were at Markree that our record lowest air temperature of -19.1°C (-2° F) was recorded on 16th January 1881. In 1882 the Dobercks left Markree for Hong Kong, where William was appointed Directory of the new Hong Kong Observatory. Ten years later, in 1892, Anna was appointed Assistant Meteorologist in the same insititution. Part of her role in Hong Kong was to visit ships in port to excerpt weather observations from the navigtation log books. Because of the nature of her work she was nicknamed “Sampan Annie” or “Typhoon Annie”. The Met Éireann Libary holds meteorological records from Markree Castle from 1869 until 1968.
The Royal Engineers
As early as 1829 the Royal Sappers and Engineers were recording weather conditions at the Ordnance Survey Office in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. Readings were taken three times a day; at 9:30am, 3.30pm and 9:30pm from a range of instruments including a barometer, a hygrometer and various thermometers. Wind direction and force and cloud form and amount were also noted. This is a drawing of the weather station that was in operation in the Phoenix Park, Dublin in 1829. In this picture you can see a gentleman in the background wearing a top hat and coat tails. This was quite a sophisticated weather station! The Met Éireann Library holds the original manuscripts for 104 years of meteorological readings taken at Phoenix Park (1855 - 1959).
Phoenix Park image (© Met Éireann)