Dunsink Lane, Castleknock, Dublin 15, D15 XR2R dunsink@dias.ie

The Hamilton Way

The Hamilton Way pedestrian and cycle route would link Dunsink Observatory, the Royal Canal Greenway, Ashtown, and the Tolka Valley Greenway and make the observatory more accessible for wheelchair users. 

Please support our petition to Fingal County Council and Dublin City Council. 

Path inspired by Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ opens in Netherlands. Read more on this astronomical path at CNN.com.

Dunsink Observatory in Dublin 15 was built in 1785 by Trinity College Dublin and is a unique part of the scientific and cultural heritage of Ireland. It has been home to many of Ireland’s greatest scientists, including Sir William Rowan Hamilton, and has played an important part in astronomical discovery and public engagement in Ireland for over two centuries.

The Observatory is located 1.2 km north of the Royal Canal/Ashtown Train Station. Since its foundation, the Observatory has been accessible by road by Dunsink Lane and for staff by foot via Dunsinea Lane and across the lands of Priorstown House (see OSI map below).

Ordinance Survey map (1897-1913) showing the footpath (F.P.) across the lands of Priorstown House to the Observatory from Dunsinea Lane. Priorstown lands are currently in the possession of NAMA.

Dunsink Lane has been neglected since the closure of the Dunsink landfill over 20 years ago and is now poorly surfaced and lighted. It also suffers from constant illegal dumping and anti-social behaviour. 

Dunsinea Lane offers a significantly more convenient and safer option for pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists. Dunsinea Lane links Ashtown Train Station on the Royal Canal to Teagasc’s Ashtown Research Centre and ends at the gates of Priorstown House and Phoenix Football Club. The Observatory is then only ~450 m from the gates of Priorstown House at the top of Dunsinea Lane (held by NAMA). This is the route of the annual Hamilton Walk, which has taken place for the past 30 years from Dunsink to Broome Bridge on the Royal Canal. 

Members of the public and secondary school students crossing NAMA lands of Priorstown House from the Observatory to Dunsinea Lane in October 2019. The Hamilton walk has been taking place each year for 30 years.

Professor Patrick Wayman, previous Director of Dunsink Observatory, reported that the Board of Trinity College Dublin secured a right-of-way from Dunsinea Lane to the Observatory in a 1910 court ruling (“Dunsink Observatory, 1785-1985: A Bicentennial History”).

Dublin City Council’s Ashtown-Pelletstown Local Area Plan identifies creating a pedestrian and cycle link between Ashtown/the Royal Canal and the Observatory: 

“UDO7: To support and promote the development of a pedestrian and cycling connection linking the Phoenix Park and Ashtown Station to Dunsink Observatory through the LAP area as a joint project between Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council, Waterways Ireland, the Office of Public Works & the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies.”

Furthermore, the plan states: 

“(c) In association with urban design objective UD07 of this plan and proposals by FCC (Fingal County Council), to provide a link from the eastern end of the LAP lands at Ashtown Road, to Dunsink Observatory.”

Cyclists on the Moon Cycle, part of the Festival of Curiosity (July 2018).

We therefore propose the 450 m long “Hamilton Way” so that observatory staff and members of the public could access the Observatory in a safe and convenient manner by foot, bike or wheelchair. This would transform access to the Observatory and open it up to many more visitors from the local area and beyond.

Please sign our petition to Fingal County Council and Dublin City Council and let us know your thoughts on the Hamilton Way by emailing dunsink@dias.ie and. All support welcome!

Dunsink Observatory is part of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) and has been operated by DIAS since 1947. DIAS has a long term lease from the owner of the observatory, the Office of Public Works (OPW).

Dunsinea Lane links Ashtown and the Royal Canal to Teagasc and Phoenix FC. The Hamilton Way would be ~450 m long pedestrian and cycle route from the top of Dunsinea Lane to Dunsink Observatory.  
The Hamilton Way from the Priorstown gate at the top of Dunsinea Lane to the Observatory. This route that has been used for over 200 years by observatory staff. It is used on a daily basis by staff and on an annual basis for the Hamilton Walk.