Public Visitor Nights
Join us at Dunsink Observatory for a night-long celebration of space – from Ireland’s rich and colourful history of exploring the universe, to our role in making future discoveries beyond our atmosphere. Throughout the night we’ll have talks, conversation, demonstrations and, weather permitting, some stargazing – all in the historic surroundings of Dunsink Observatory. Meet the scientists at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies who are expanding our understanding of the universe, the Dunsink team who care for the history and future of the observatory, and the community of astronomers and space fans who help make Dunsink one of the most important sites for space exploration in Ireland.
Visitor Nights are usually held twice a month during the winter months (October – March). Check our homepage and social media for announcements on upcoming events and open nights.
Weather permitting, visitors can view celestial objects through the historic Grubb Telescope. Please note that telescope observing requires dark skies and so the grounds of the Observatory are not well lit. As with many historic sites, the paths underfoot can be a bit rough, so wear appropriate footwear and bring a torch if needed.
We are very grateful to the Irish Astronomical Society for their long-standing support with our Open Nights and other events.
Secondary schools and Universities: visits to Dunsink Observatory can be arranged upon request if there is availability. Please note that are staffing is limited at the moment so we may not be able to accommodate your request this academic term. These trips can be organised for day or evening time. For more information or to request an invitation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transition Year Week: we run a TY week for students interested in maths and science as a career path, usually annually in late February (currently on hold due to the pandemic). Learn more here!
Culture Night is an open night in mid-September when many public buildings open their doors for the evening. We run a series of talks and tours of Dunsink on the night.
Early October brings Space Week, closely following in mid-to-late October by Maths Week, and we support these weeks by running a number of public and schools events, including the annual Hamilton Walk to celebrate the contributions of Ireland’s greatest mathematician.
Ireland’s national Science Week runs every year in mid-November, coordinated by Science Foundation Ireland. We run events most days and evenings during Science Week for schools and the public. Look for notifications in October of the events for this year.
In late February and early March, Engineers Week takes place, and we again have schools visits during the week and an open night with a theme appropriate for the week.
Solarfest is an event run in partnership with amateur astronomers and solar observers that takes place on a weekend around the summer solstice every year (mid-June). We have a public open night on Friday evening, a full day of talks and solar observing (weather permitting) on Saturday, and a family afternoon on Sunday.