The Blackrock Castle Observatory has an existence that spans the decades including a very colorful history and quite a starry future. And you get it all in one visit
Most castles were built specifically for royal families. But this fortress was built in 1604 to protect the busy port of Cork from pirates who were after the goods coming and going through the area.
“The pirates would wait until dark and then take the barrels of butter and other products off the ships in the harbor and the people of Cork were tired of it,” says Clair as she leads a tour.
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They came up with some creative ways of deterring the pirates, like steaming hot cannon balls. You can hear more about that here.
The pirates moved on to better booty in the Caribbean where gold and silver replaced the dairy products and other goods in Cork. And the castle ran through a list of other uses, ibut mostly as a spot for banquets and parties, only to be left in ruins too many times. So the people of Cork voted to turn it into an observatory and now it has a future in the stars.
Working with the Cork Institute of Technology the equipment and telescopes now on the roof of the castle, study black holes and look for exoplanets. Teams in Cork play an integral role in that focused research. And the main castle serves as a research center and family-friendly planetarium complete with star shows, interactive games, and star viewing when the skies over Cork are clear.
You can find more information on the Blackrock Castle Observatory at www.BCO.ie
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