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Mountjoy Square Park Sundial
Dial at Mountjoy Square Park.

Dial face at Mountjoy Square Park

Dial at Mountjoy Square.

The 4.5 acre Mountjoy Square Park is located in the north inner city of Dublin. Originally created by the developer of the Square, Luke Gardiner, Lord Mountjoy around 1800, it was not fully completed until 1818. This granite sundial probably dates from that period.

The Square was upgraded in the late 1980's and the dial is now surrounded by salvaged cobbles.
Reconstruction of the dial face.
Reconstruction of the Mountjoy Square dial face.

Description of the reconstructed dial shown above:

This is a 'Polar Sundial'. Common garden sundials have a horizontal dial plate with a triangular gnomon (the shadow caster which is set at the latitude of the location) and the hour lines radiate from the root of the gnomon. A 'Polar Sundial' has the plate inclined at the latitude of the place with the gnomon vertically on the 12 o'clock hour line with its upper edge and face parallel to the dial plate and the hour lines parallel to each other and the gnomon.
The dial surface has eroded particularly along the bottom edge. The word 'TEMPUS' at the top is split by the gnomon and it is more than likely that the word 'FUGIT' was similarly split at the bottom, as suggested in the image above, to give the ubiquitous motto 'Time Flies'. The hour line numerals have also disappeared but they would have run 7-8-9-10-11-12 then 12-1-2-3-4-5.The morning hours would have been indicated by the receding edge of the shadow, the afternoon by the advancing edge. Noon occurs at the instant when the shadow disappears and then reappears from under the gnomon.

Watch time differs from sundial time by approximately 1½ hours during the summer, ½ in the winter. Click here for my explanation as to why they differ



Lat 53° 21' North   Long 6° 16' West

Irish Grid   O   315880   234472


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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