First published in The Irish Times March 15, 2012 You might wear a sprig of ‘shamrock’ this St Patrick’s day — but did you know, there is no such thing as ‘shamrock’? The tradition of wearing shamrock dates back centuries, and the small, three-leafed (or trefoil) plant is famously a symbol of Irishness. Yet, it’s […]
When horsemeat was on the menu at Tara!
Forget burgers! The recent controversy reminds us that, 2,000 years, we were eating horsemeat in Ireland . . . but not just any menu, we’re talking very special occasions: the inauguration feast for a High King at Tara. And how do we know? Because archaeologists have found the left overs! Horse bones were discovered at […]
A hidden treasure for Science Week!
Do you like a good story? Interested in geeky history and science? Then you’ll love the wonderful museum in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Well worth a visit, it is in our online Atlas of Ingenious Ireland. And for more great stories like this, check out our new ebook about Dublin’s scientific heritage, Ingenious Dublin (the […]
Dublin’s weird ‘witch’ bottle
This is a fascinating bottle with a weird story. We learned about it on a tour of historic Aungier St with Dublin City’s architects, archaeologists and conservation officers. It’s a pottery bottle, from about 1600, intact and sealed. But x-rays reveal that there is a lot of “stuff” in it, including old nails. This leads […]
The Botanic Gardens Podcast Tour : Red
The Botanic Gardens Podcast Tour : Red What links the alphabet with Dublin’s National Botanic Gardens and an ingenious Cherokee chief? Find out on this audio guided tour of the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin — the ‘alphabet tree’ is just one of the many fascinating stories featured on our Red tour of the historic gardens. Other […]
The Botanic Gardens Podcast Tour : Yellow
The Botanic Gardens Ingenious Ireland Podcast tour: Yellow Do you want to know who lives in one of the fanciest houses in Glasnevin? And hear how early botanical gardens were the pharmacy shops of their day? Come on this audio guided tour and we will bring on a fascinating walk around Ireland’s National Botanic Gardens in […]
Halloween: Samuel Haughton’s ‘humane hanging’
One of Ireland’s more unusual contributions to civilisation was calculating the humane hangman’s drop. In the good old days, public executions were a popular spectacle, and indeed, the word ‘gala’ comes from gallows. Now, hanging was originally a prelude to drawing and quartering — or, for women, being burned at the stake — and never […]
Calculating the date of the Creation
The world began on this day 4004 BC, according to Archbishop James Ussher from Dublin, the man who famously calculated the date of the Creation by counting the ‘begats’ in the Old Testament. But his work meant this ingenious Irish ‘scientist’ was also one of the first people to try and estimate the age of […]
1907: was the first portable computer design Irish?
Possibly the first portable computer — more “table top” than “laptop” — was designed around 1907 by an inventive Irish accountant, Percy Ludgate. His invention gets a place in the history of computing, although it was never built. Ludgate died 90 years ago this week. Since the invention of the abacus, people have been […]
New digital walking tours of Ingenious Dublin
Press release Tuesday October 16th 2102: on Hamilton Day, the day quaternions were invented in Dublin in 1843 As hundreds of geeks gather in Dublin for the WebSummit… two new city walking tours are launched to celebrate Ireland’s many great inventions and scientific discoveries. Did you know. . . that Dublin algebra helped to land […]