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Kildare Sundial

NUI Maynooth
NUI Maynooth Sundial

NUI Maynooth
Enhanced photo of NUI Maynooth Sundial from above

In 1795 the Irish Parliament passed an Act which created an academy "for the better education of persons professing the popish or Roman Catholic religion". The new College, under the influence of the Duke of Leinster, was founded in Maynooth and in time it became not only Ireland's national seminary, but also the largest seminary in the world. Maynooth became a Recognized College of the National University of Ireland in 1910 and opened its doors to lay students in 1976.
The sundial, which is located in the triangle inside the gate on the South Campus, was one of the first external pieces of sculpture acquired by the University after its foundation in 1795. A representaion of this sundial now forms part of the NUI Maynooth logo.

This expertly carved slate sundial is 24" square, 1/4" thick and has a massive pierced bronze gnomon 13" high by 1 3/8" wide. It is signed 'Saunders Dublin Fecit AD 1796' the year the Seminary was officially opened.

It has a large 32 point compass rose at the centre of the dial with every second point named in the form "E" "ESE" "SE" etc. There is a clockwise Equation of Time table with "SUN TOO FAST" "SUN TOO SLOW" legend with a sun symbol at the crossover points.

Between the Equation of Time and the Chapter Ring are the names of 27 distant cities marked to indicate that it is noon in that distant place when the shadow of the gnomon falls on its name.

The Chapter Ring tells the time from 4a.m. to 8p.m. in Roman numerals with IIII for four. It has a noon gap to allow for the thickness of the gnomon. The additional time rings are marked in 15, 30 and 1 minute divisions.

The engraved 'logo' shows St. Patrick and a Round Tower monastic ruin on the right side of a globe of the world, and the Arms of Ireland and a modern domed church on the left. The four corners of the dial plate are decorated in an abstract foliar design.

The University is located in the rural town of Maynooth, 20 km west of Dublin.

Lat 53° 23' North   Long 6° 36' West

Irish Grid    N  293170   237950

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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