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Dragons’ tails and Balor’s eye: Ireland’s history with the stars

4:30pm-5:00pm on Saturday 23 March

Times shown are in GMT (UTC +0) up to the 26th March. For events on or after 27th March times are in BST (UTC +1).

Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, Room GR 06/07 9 West Road, CB3 9DP

Even before they had specialised terms for comets, meteors, galaxies and aurora, the people of Ireland were writing about the phenomena they observed in the night sky. Claiming to have seen hairy stars, showers of blood and dragons in the air, they inadvertently left us some of the earliest records of global astronomical events.

In the early Middle Ages, they also developed their own system of reckoning time according to the movement of the moon, and they defiantly challenged the Church in Rome about how the date of Easter should be calculated.

In later centuries, Irish physicians, concerned about the effect that heavenly bodies had on human ones, seem to have taken account of the position of the sun and the planets before embarking on medical procedures.

This talk explores Ireland’s remarkable contribution to historical astronomy and astrology, and introduces some of the colourful names that were eventually assigned to constellations and spectacles like the Great Bear and the Milky Way.

Booking/Registration is: UNAVAILABLE

Additional Information

Age: Adults, Young Adults 12 – 18
Format: Talk
Timing: In person
Cost: Free
Event Capacity: 80
Theme: Environment, Discovery
Accessibility: Step-free access, Accessible toilet
Image copyright: Sharon Arbuthnot, Máire Ní Mhaonaigh and Greg Toner, A History of Ireland in 100 Words (Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 2019)

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