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Science Week 2016: Against all odds - Science and the Rising
15 November 2016

Would you volunteer to record the weather during a rebellion? Our observers did! Weather observations at Trinity College were suspended during the Easter Rising in April 1916 but observers in other parts of Dublin continued to measure and record weather conditions, despite the rebellion.  Daily observations were carried out as usual at the Ordnance Survey Office in the Phoenix Park and at the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin.  Closer to the conflict, weather observations at Fitzwilliam Square were also maintained without any interruption.

 

Excerpt from weather observations recorded at the Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin 18-30 April 1916. Source: Met Éireann Library MÉ/MO/4.    

Anecdotal accounts suggest that the weather in Dublin was remarkably good during the Easter Rising and surviving scientific records confirm that it was unusually warm for that time of year. Maximum daytime temperatures were significantly higher than average with 17.8°C recorded on both 24 and 27 April 1916 (see our Historical Note No. 7 for more details).

The handwritten manuscripts that observers used to record weather conditions in April 1916 survive to this day and are held at the Met Éireann Library. They form part of a huge collection of historical data that dates back to 1829.  We are extremely fortunate to have such a long record of high-quality meteorological data, which can be used to better understand our past climate. But our collection of manuscripts now represent much more than the scientific data for which they were originally created.  Like an old diary might tell us a story about the life of the author, these records help to tell part of the story of science in Ireland.

Science is part of our past, our present and our future. For 2016 we are celebrating our rich meteorological heritage and commemorating Met Éireann’s 80th anniversary year. Come visit our free commemorative exhibition at the Custom House Visitor Centre or check out the digital companion, which is available on our website. This year we are looking back at the story of science in Ireland to acknowledge the work of thousands of weather observers who remained committed to their scientific work, sometimes against all odds. 

For further information contact Mairéad Treanor (library AT met dot ie).

                     

 
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