Meteorological Sites and Instruments Through the Years

On this page you will find a map indicating the positions of various meteorological instruments through the years, overlain on top of the present layout of grounds and buildings, as well as a chronological series of photographs of various sites and instruments from the late 19th century onwards.

 

The positions of the various instruments in use over the past two centuries at Armagh Observatory, from which data have been employed on this web site, on a map showing the present layout of grounds and buildings. Compare that to the grounds from the 1867 Ordnance Survey map below.

The automatic weather station erected by the Board of Trade in 1868, which was demolished in the early 1960s, lay close to the north end of the current library building. The position of the 60m contour is approximate (based upon Ordnance Survey ace map, 1:1250 (1998), with the permission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (permit number 1204), © Crown Copyright).

 

Legend:
Raingauge
Thermometers
Barometer
Sunshine Recorder
Soil Thermometers
Anemometer

This is a photograph of a map of the observatory and grounds, drawn by the OS in 1867. The round raingauge was on the North lawn. The anemometer and the square raingauge were situated on the roof of the main building and the thermometers were placed in a metal box attached to the north window of the East Tower. In 1867 a meteorological building was constructed by the Board of Trade to house the instruments of the Automatic Weather Station where they operated continuously until 1883. This building was demolished in 1963 to provide space for a new Library (marked with a crossed square in the map).

The pencilled outlines of the Robinson Dome were inserted later, as this building was not constructed until 1885.The original map is 1350mm by 920mm and is situated on the wall of the SE basement office.

A view looking north across the North Lawn of the Observatory, believed taken in 1881. At the bottom of the photograph we see the met. enclosure with the square raingauge (S2) on the right.

A photograph of the Robinson Cup Anemometer by Munroe, mounted on top of a small hut which contained the recording apparatus. The hut was built on the flat part of the roof of the main building. (c. 1883)

A photograph of the Observatory buildings, taken from the south in 1882. It shows: (1) the Robinson Cup-Anemometer made by Munroe at the western end of the roof of the main building; (2) the Campbell-Stokes Bright Sunshine Recorder mounted on a platform at the eastern end of the roof of the main building; and (3) a part of the Meteorological Building erected by the Board of Trade, seen through the trees at the extreme eastern end of the photograph. The shutters on the Mural Circle Room and East Dome are open.

A photograph believed to have been taken in 1883 which shows the north face of the Observatory buildings. In the foreground we see the met. enclosure on the North Lawn containing the Square Rain Guage (S2) and the Beckley Automatic Raingauge (Kew). On the roof of the main building we see the Robinson Cup Anemometer by Munroe with its recording apparatus, to the right, and the Campbell-Stokes Sunshine recorder to the left. Attached to the north window of the East Tower we see the metal box that contained the thermometers and behind the East Tower we see a part of the housing of the automatic thermograph by Beckley.

In this photograph taken in 1883, we can see the anemometer on the roof of the main building. The sunshine tower had been moved to the south lawn the same year. In the Met. Enclosure we see the square rain-gauge (S2) on the right and the Beckley Kew Automatic Rain-gauge to the left.
Lawrence Collection, National Library, Dublin, courtesy of P. Corvan

This photograph taken in the 1930s from near the Armstrong School shows the cup anemometer on the roof of the main building and the sunshine tower between the Robinson and the Calver Telescope Domes.

Courtesy of P. Corvan

This photograph taken in 1930s from the field to the south of the Observatory shows the south elevation of the Buildings with the Robinson Dome at mid-left and the Calver Dome extreme left. Between the two domes we see the sunshine recorder. In the centre we see a small Stevenson Screen containing the thermometers and behind the trees to the right of the picture we see the roof of the Met. Building.

Aerial view of the Observatory taken in 1932, showing the Stevenson Screen beside the Robinson Dome and 8-inch rain gauge to the right. The sunshine tower is obscured by the the Calver Telescope dome. This picture clearly shows the Met. Building on the South of the East Tower. This building was demolished in 1953.

In this photogragh taken in 1946, we can see the anemometer in the roof of the main building. The met. station had been removed from the North Lawn. On the Sector Tower, left of centre, there is a radio ariel erected by Ellison to receive time signals from Paris and Loughborough.

In this photograph taken in 1947, we see the sunshine tower on the extreme left, and the Stevenson screen, the 8-inch raingauge and two tubes for the soil temperatures in the center of the picture. The Met. Building is on the extreme right.

A higher elevation photo of the field to the south of the Observatory, taken around 1948, showing the sunshine tower at the extreme left, the Robinson Dome, the Stevenson Screen and a group of raingauges roughly in the centre of the picture. The south face of the Met. Building is clearly visible on the right.

A view of the Observatory from the south, taken in 1950. It features the Robinson Dome left of centre and the Steveson Screen to the right. Further again to the right can be seen the Beckley Automatic Raingauge (Kew) and the Met. Building.

Courtesy of P. Corvan

This photograph from the 1950s shows the Stevenson screen and the 5-inch raingauge behind it close to the path. The tubes containing the soil thermometers are obscured by the raingauge. The sunshine tower has been removed, but the staircase left in front of the Robinson dome. The Dome that previously housed the Calver Telescope has been demolished and a new dome built to the right which now houses a Schmidt Telescope constructed from the parts of the Old Calver Telescope.

Courtesy of P. Corvan

An aerial view of Armagh Observatory taken in 1983, showing the Stevenson Screen beside the Robinson Dome and the rain gauges between the Screen and the Library Building.

From the John McConnell Collection

This photograph, taken from the sunshine tower in 1983 shows the Stevenson screen and the 8-inch raingauge behind it close to the path. The tubes containing the soil thermometers are 5 feet from the path and are just visible in the grass. The old sunshine tower is still in front of the Robinson Dome. The cup anemometer has been moved to the roof of the Sector Tower.

Courtesy of P. Corvan

This picture shows the position of the sunshine tower in 1983 with the Planetarium in the background. In 1988 the remaining met. instruments were moved to this location.

From the John McConnell Collection

The picture shows the station in 1999. You can see the new sunshine tower to the right and the old sunshine tower (removed later that year) to the left. The Stevenson Screen and raingauge are visible. Also shown is the fence erected that year after the sunshine recorder glass ball was stolen twice.

The sunshine recorder in 2005 at the top of the new sunshine tower. The post to right of centre holds the anemometer and sunshine recorder from one of the old automatic weather stations.

 

The Met Station in October 2020. You can see the Stevenson Screen to the left and the sunshine tower to its right. Mostly hidden behind the Stevenson Screen is the Automated Weather Station, with an anemometer and weather vane on top of its small tower. The Church of Ireland Cathedral can be seen between the trees to the right.

Instrument Information

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