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Nano Nagle Centre Sundial

Nano Nagle Centre

Nano Nagle was the foundress of the Presentation Sisters and the pioneer of Irish Catholic education in the 18th century. The Nano Nagle Retreat and Reflection Centre relates the story of Nano Nagle and the Presentation Sisters in a broad historical and religious context. The centre has a 'cosmic walk', a 2 kilometre guided trail through fields, woodlands and riverbank with the story of the evolution of the Universe from its birth to the present day represented by sixteen 'stations'. Designed by Jonathan Mason of Heritage, Planning and Design Services, Lusk, Co. Dublin in 2008.

Special thanks to Jonathan Mason for this photo

The first station of the Cosmic Walk is a sphere, in the form of a three dimensional Ying Yang symbol, which artist Barry Ormond of Kilmacomma, Clonmel, and Jonathan Mason developed in conjunction with Eddie Nelson of MetalCraft, Walkinstown, Dublin. It symbolises the singularity at the start of our universe, the 'Big Bang'.

...with the sundial at the last 'station' in the background

Special thanks to Jonathan Mason for this photo
The final 'station' on the Cosmic Walk, a stainless steel sundial with the world represented by the ringed globe at the base of the gnomon, was designed by Jonathan using ShadowsPro software. "The idea was to show the equatorials in relation to the gnomon to reinforce the idea that it is aligned with the earth's axis…. In our lifetimes, we all have known people fifty years older than ourselves. The ring of forty clasped hands around the base symbolises the small number of such intergenerational jumps it takes to link us back to the time of the birth of Christ, reinforcing the sense historical time being short in relation to the deep time which most of the cosmic walk is dealing with."
Sitting in an 8m x 10.5m field of tiles, the 3.2 metre high gnomon (the shadow caster) of the sundial has a centre slit to allow (weather permitting) a shaft of sunlight to appear on the dial face at solar noon when the sun is at its highest in the sky.

There is a 200mm wide noon gap on the dial face, marked with a narrow row of tiles, to compensate for the thickness of the gnomon. A prism mounted on the tip of the gnomon, indicates the seasons through the spectrum it casts on the noon gap marker at solar mid-day.

There are hour lines, from 6a.m. to 6p.m., and half hour lines on the tile dial face, the hours being marked with 200mm high stainless steel Roman numerals.

Special thanks to Cormac Lalor for this photo and for drawing this dial to my attention

There is an Equation of Time plaque and a Time Correction plaque with instructions on how to convert sundial time to watch time set in the tiles at the base of the gnomon. The gnomon foundation consists of a block of concrete weighing several tons with three heavy threaded bars embedded in it. These were used to level and orientate the gnomon, the southern bolt serving as a pivot for the base plate.
The hands were designed and made by Terry Carton of Carton Ceramics, Phibsboro, Dublin. Terry also made the silk screened tiles at the base of the dial with the equation of time and time correction tables. Eddie Nelson did the steel fabrication, while Joe Costelloe of Stonemad,Holycross,Co. Tipperary laid the stone paving, sand blasted the detail and fixed down the stainless steel numerals.

The Nano Nagle Centre is situated at Ballygriffin on the N72 road between Mallow and Fermoy

Lat 52° 9' North  Long 8° 31' West

Irish Grid   R  164320   100130

If you know the location of a sundial in Ireland (NOT a mass produced DIY Store garden ornament) please email it to me (Click here to email M.J.Harley) - a member of British Sundial Society
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