Leviathan of Parsonstown...

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Where: Offaly, Ireland

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When: 01 January 1885

Try to find the date or year when this image was made.
... or the 6 foot telescope of William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse (1800-1867). The photo also features (following much debate!) Lawrence Parsons, 4th Earl of Rosse (1840-1908).

Great photo, and this allows us to add another photo to the small cache of Offaly photos we have on here - taken at Birr Castle, Parsonstown, Offaly.

Here's a gorgeous "view" of the Leviathan on the OSI Historic Maps, and a contemporary bird's eye view on Bing - thanks Niall McAuley.

Photographer: Robert French

Collection: Lawrence Photographic Collection

Date: Around 1880s

NLI Ref.: L_ROY_03237

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 35747
telescope birrcastle parsonstown birr offaly kingscounty ireland leinster bowlerhat beard williamparsons earlofrosse 3rdearlofrosse lawrenceparsons 4thearlofrosse robertfrench williamlawrence glassnegative astronomy stars limerickbybeachcomber observatory crucibles astronomer nationallibraryofireland peopleidentified lawrencephotographicstudio 19thcentury

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  • profile

    Foxglove

    • 18/Jan/2013 09:19:33

    so great to see an old photo of this ! we were talking about it the other evening

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 18/Jan/2013 09:26:59

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/foxglove It's a fantastic construction/contraption/feat of engineering, is it not?

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    Swordscookie

    • 18/Jan/2013 09:27:35

    I had never seen it, truly a fantastic piece of work. I take it The Lord Rosse looking in the scope is the other one???

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 18/Jan/2013 09:31:20

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/swordscookie] I think he could be Lawrence Parsons, 4th Earl of Rosse - the beard seems right. But if anyone knows any different...

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    Niall McAuley

    • 18/Jan/2013 09:32:47

    It's still there, restored quite recently: The Great Telescope This was the largest telescope in the world for 70 years.

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    eyelightfilms

    • 18/Jan/2013 09:36:00

    Built in 1845, it had obviously been there a while when this photo was taken, judging from the ivy covered walls.

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    FrigateRN

    • 18/Jan/2013 09:45:32

    What an incredible sight, great old picture.

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    catb -

    • 18/Jan/2013 09:53:44

    . . . and heres one taken in August 2012, of the restored telescope! Great historic telescope

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    Niall McAuley

    • 18/Jan/2013 09:56:33

    Here it is on the OS 25" map at GeoHive. And in Bing maps more recently.

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    John Spooner

    • 18/Jan/2013 10:19:13

    A lengthy letter to the Times , reproduced in Freeman's on Apr 29 1842, which goes into great detail about the construction of the telescope, concludes:

    The foundry is not many feet from Birr Castle, the residence in Ireland of the Earl of Rosse, and, with the exception of the crucibles ... all the apparatus employed on this interesting occasion (the steam-engine itself included) was made in the workshops adjoining the castle, under the earl's immediate direction, by workmen train and instructed by himself

  • profile

    John Spooner

    • 18/Jan/2013 10:42:54

    A drawing of the telescope which appeared in The Graphic, March 19, 1892 telescope2

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    Sarah K Mc

    • 18/Jan/2013 10:43:19

    Great photo! I went there on a visit with our astronomy club at college, one of the things that struck me was that he had this built in one of the places in the country with the fewest cloud free days!

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    John Spooner

    • 18/Jan/2013 10:49:16

    I wonder if the bearded bloke in the photo is Dr Otto Boeddicker? By the 1880s, newspaper reports of observations made using the telescope all seem to quote him.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 18/Jan/2013 11:04:04

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner Oooh, so maybe not Lawrence Parsons then! Shakes fist at Wikipedia (in a non-threatening fashion) for not having a photo of Dr Otto.

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    John Spooner

    • 18/Jan/2013 11:23:09

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland] On second thoughts, it can't be Boeddicker, because in 1892 his beard is black (unless he dyed it specially for his appearance in The Graphic) Boeddicker Photo ... but it could be Coughlan or Birmingham (although perhaps too well dressed to be either of them) but not Walsh. Definitely not Walsh.

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    John A. Coffey

    • 18/Jan/2013 12:10:58

    Michael Tubridy (flute player with the Chieftains) was the Structural Engineer on the restoration in 1998/99.The old mirror was replaced and is on display .The Parsons family were amazing, as can be seen after a trip to Birr Castle.

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    blackpoolbeach

    • 18/Jan/2013 12:51:04

    Is there a connection with the Grubb Telescope Company of Dublin? In Newcastle upon Tyne the company traded until 1985. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Howard_Grubb,_Parsons_and_Co Charles Algernon Parsons, the youngest son of the famous astronomer William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Algernon_Parsons

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    Reconstructing Light

    • 18/Jan/2013 21:10:22

    Stunning device! Must visit that.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 18/Jan/2013 21:58:26

    The Leviathan limerick A giant of tubes, mirrors and bars Searching Milky Way, Venus and Mars. As Oscar did utter - "We're all in the gutter - But some of us look at the stars."

  • profile

    someclevername

    • 18/Jan/2013 22:19:50

    Awesome.

  • profile

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 19/Jan/2013 12:39:56

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia I love this one! Not one of your funniest, but lovely all the same. Thank you.

  • profile

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 19/Jan/2013 14:08:02

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Great modern connection, thanks!

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 19/Jan/2013 14:10:06

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackpoolbeach Non-bearded but rather moustachioed Charles Algernon Parsons, so presumably not him in this photo.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 19/Jan/2013 14:10:50

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner Fantastic that "the workers" were also named in that photo!

  • profile

    blackpoolbeach

    • 19/Jan/2013 15:26:12

    Here is a photo of Boeddicker with a long beard. www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5663010006/in/set-7215... Ralph Copeland also could fit the bill. www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5766002059/in/set-7215... I let my beard grow too much in the 1990s. It became too difficult to tie the knot in a necktie.

  • profile

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 19/Jan/2013 16:45:50

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackpoolbeach Ahh, thanks Pete! I've Flickr Mailed that Flickr user, as he's an expert, and may be able to help us with identification of our bearded gentleman...

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 20/Jan/2013 13:51:30

    This just in from John C McConnell:

    ... The man with the beard is the Fourth Earl of Rosse. Copeland was only there from 1871-74 and then moved to Dunsink after which he was astronomer to the Earl of Crawford (1876) and then Astronomer Royal for Scotland 1889. I have attached an image from my Flickr set on Birr Castle which shows both the Fourth Earl and Dr Boeddicker so there's little doubt! Also I'm pretty sure the Fourth Earl would have attended to William Lawrence personally...

  • profile

    simbajak

    • 26/Jan/2013 20:48:29

    That is an impressive piece of optics! What a great photograph.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 27/Jan/2013 12:31:23

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/simbajak It certainly is impressive, thank you.

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    DannyM8

    • 28/Feb/2013 19:31:03

    www.census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai002645805/ Boeddicker

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 10/Mar/2013 18:19:19

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] Fantastic, Danny! And he was one of only 4 astronomers in 1911, one of whom was also a Farmer.

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    John Spooner

    • 12/Mar/2013 09:39:47

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland At this point my the brother would point out that 'astronomers' is an anagram of 'moonstarers' (and vice-versa).

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    Joemon Plavunkal

    • 01/Jul/2014 19:50:39

    Perfect shot

  • profile

    John Spooner

    • 22/Apr/2015 11:41:01

    I don't know whether this is available in Ireland, but an episode in BBC Radio's series 'Cosmic Quest' discusses the role of the Parsonstown telescope in the discovery of distant galaxies. www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00c3h3t

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 06/Aug/2020 09:52:47

    There is a 2018 GoogleMapsSphere - goo.gl/maps/tLmfP29xYLs3N33G9 Also another Lawrence (3238) from a different angle. Via [https://www.flickr.com/photos/photohistorytimeline/] [https://www.flickr.com/photos/photohistorytimeline/3056495083/]