The Leviathan of Parsonstown.
This is the Great Telescope of Birr Castle, created by the Third Earl of Rosse in 1845. For many years it was the largest telescope in the world, and helped to cement Birr's reputation as a centre of scientific research and endeavour.
The poet Frederic Vanson wrote;
For what purpose this giant undertaking?
This vast folly? What was it that led
These Irish peers to perfect and polish
The great speculum, the metallic eye
Walled against wind, the elaborate contrivances
That moved it in a narrow meridonial segment
Of the Irish heavens? Costing a large fortune
It was a luxury in that famined land.
Yet no one it seems resented it
Save a few rival astronomers, advocates
Of lens against mirror; the hitherto–untapped skills
Of humble Irish countrymen, their names lost to history,
Made possible this great telescope.
And to what purpose?
As well ask to what purpose men compose symphonies.
Or wrestle with words to win poetry.
Deep, deep in space, though in cloudy mid-Ireland
Seldom there for inspection, lay challenges, mysteries.
The patient Earls sought like musicians or poets
The order of universes, the universe of order. #Birr #birrcastle #birrcastledemense #science #history #discovery #astronomy #poetry #discoverireland #exploreireland #irelandsancienteast #travel #travelphotography #historyofscience #stargazing #telescope #irelandtravel