BLACKROCK MILLENNIUM SUNDIAL

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Blackrock’s Millennium Sundial is situated in a large paved area in the centre of the promenade.  Erected during 2000 to mark the millennium year, it is 7.3 metres in diameter and is believed to be the largest sundial in a public place in Ireland.  The 3 metre high gnomon (the part which casts the shadow) comprises a bronze sculpture of a female diving figure, created by local artist Tanya Nyegaard, on a hexagonal stone pedestal.  The numerals on the “face” of the sundial are 30 cms high and are engraved in black granite.  Inscriptions in English and Irish on the pedestal read “Anno Domini 2000. To commemorate the jubilee of the birth of Christ, and to mark the beginning of a new millennium”.  The year is also expressed in Roman numerals MM, reflecting the time of Christ, and in binary notation 11111010000 to reflect today’s computer age.  An old Irish seanfhocal on the “face” of the sundial relates the linkage between time and the sea, “Ag tuile ‘is ag trá a chaitheann an fharraige an lá”  (flowing and ebbing is how the sea spends the day).  A glass time capsule is incorporated into the foundation of the sundial and contains pictures and other items collected from the public in Blackrock during 2000.  The name Aisling was assigned to the sculpture following a poll in the village in 2001.

 

How to tell the time

A small plaque located in the shrub bed beside the sundial explains how it works.

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“Local Time” and “Actual Time”

Due to an effect know as “the equation of time”, the actual length of the day varies throughout the year as the earth revolves around the sun in an elliptical orbit.  This means that the difference between “Local Time” (see the plaque above) and “actual time” varies from month to month.  Here are the approximate time differences you need to ADD to the Blackrock Sundial time in order to agree with your watches and clocks (including the “extra” hour for summer time):

  • Early Jan – 28 mins
  • Mid Jan    – 34 mins
  • Early Feb – 38 mins
  • Mid Feb    – 39 mins
  • Early Mar – 37 mins
  • Mid Mar    – 34 mins
  • Early Apr – 1 hr 29 mins
  • Mid Apr    – 1 hr 25 mins
  • Early May – 1 hr 22 mins
  • Mid May   – 1 hr 21 mins
  • Early Jun – 1 hr 22 mins
  • Mid Jun   – 1 hr 24 mins
  • Early Jul  – 1 hr 28 mins
  • Mid Jul    – 1 hr 30 mins
  • Early Aug – 1 hr 31 mins
  • Mid Aug   – 1 hr 29 mins
  • Early Sep – 1 hr 25 mins
  • Mid Sep    – 1 hr 20 mins
  • Early Oct – 1 hr 15 mins
  • Mid Oct    – 1 hr 10 mins
  • Early Nov – 8 mins
  • Mid Nev    – 9 mins
  • Early Dec – 12 mins
  • Mid Dec    – 12 mins

 

History of the Sundial

Blackrock Millennium Sundial was designed and constructed by a sub-committee of Blackrock Tidy Towns following a decision taken in 1997 to mark the millennium in the village in a meaningful and lasting way.  The sub-committee comprised Larry Magnier (chairman), John Horan, Brendan Watters, the late Jack McGahon, and Chris Fingleton.  Funding was provided by The Peace and Reconciliation Programme, The National Millennium Committee, ESB, BHK Credit Union Ltd., Nicholas Lynch Londis Supermarket, Brendan Watters Insurances Ltd., and The Brake and The Clermont Arms. The total cost of the project was over €150,000.  The architects were John F. McGahon and Son and the contractors were Padhraic Moneley Ltd.  The Sundial was unveiled on 10th November 2000 by Dermot Ahern TD., Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs.

 

Some pictures taken during construction of the Sundial in 2000.

 

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Aligning the sculpture template for an exact north-south orientation.  Part of the circumference template for the sundial “face” is already in position.

 

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 The sculpture arriving and being lowered into position on its concrete base.

 

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The black granite “numerals” being laid to comply with precise pre-determined alignments .  We can see from the shadow of the sculpture/gnomon that it is about midday.

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