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Breen, James  (5 July 1826 – 25 August 1866), He started work at Greenwich at age 16 as a calculator – His father Hugh also worked there. Later he went to Cambridge as an assistant astronomer to James Challis from 1846-58. He died in London of consumption.

Davidson, Martin  [Rev.] (1880-1968), born Armagh, Northern Ireland.  Studying mathematics he specialised in orbital dynamics and thence the orbits of meteors at Queens University, Belfast before  entering the church (see County of London; Obit. Irish Astronomical Journal, 9, 170; Obit., JBAA, 79 [3] (1969), 246; Stroobant 1931)

Ellison, William Frederick Archdall [Rev.] (1864 April 28 – 1936 December 31) Studied classics at Trinity College Dublin in 1883. Took Holy Orders in 1890 and moved to Monkwearmouth, Sunderland. Returned to Ireland in 1899 and by 1908 was in Wexford where he set up his first observatory. Became a proficient lens and mirror maker and wrote on these subjects in ATM, JBAA & the English Mechanic. Wrote a book entitled “The Amateur’s Telescope” on the subject in 1920. Was appointed to the directorship of the Armagh Observatory on 1918 September 2 and when he found the observatory in a very run down state set about restoring it. In early 1919 he deeded one of his own telescopes to the observatory, an 18 inch reflector.

Hardcastle, Joseph A. (1868-1917), born Stowmarket… In 1916 he was appointed Director of the Armagh Observatory, dying the following year (Bennett 1990, 172-3; Obit., MNRAS, 78 (1918), 246-8; Stroobant 1907, 69; see Berkshire & Suffolk).

Marsh, Narcissus (1638-1713), born Hannington, nr. Highworth, archbishop of Armagh who had an interest in comets and scientific instruments (see ODNB).

McCance, James Law [FRAS] (1856-1903), born Newry (?), Ireland (see County of London).

McCance, John [FRAS] (1859-1893), born Newry, Ireland (see County of London).


Armagh Observatory (1789-  ), established by the Richard Robinson, archbishop of Armagh. Its directors are:   James Hamilton (1790-1815); William Davenport (1815-1823); Thomas Romney Robinson (1823-1882); John Louis Armagh_Observatory_1883Emil Dreyer (1882-1916); Joseph Hardcastle (1917); William Ellison (1918-1936); Eric Lindsay (1937-1974); Mart de Groot 1976-1994; Mark Bailey (1995- ). Specialises in stellar astrophysics, the Sun and solar system astronomy, it is located near the centre of the city of Armagh, Northern Ireland (Howse 1986, 64; Bennett 1990).

Associated Sites

Armagh Observatory, c. 1882

Armagh Planetarium

The planetarium was established by Eric Lindsay, seventh Director of the nearby Armagh Observatory in 1965 at a cost of £120 000. Patrick Moore oversaw construction and was first planetarium director. The original projector was a ‘Goto Mars’ and retired in 1977 to be re-used at the South Downs Planetarium in Chichester, Sussex. Armagh Planetarium went on to pioneer the use of video projectors. There was a major refurbishment in 2006.

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