for 90+ years some of the best telescopes in the world were made in Dublin Ireland

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With our cloudy skies Ireland is renowned for astronomy. odd that isn’t it. Ireland can boast the oldest observatory in the world, 5000 years observing sunrises at Newgrange! The largest telescope in the world for 70 years was built at Birr Castle, and of course we had William Rowan Hamilton, and in Dublin we built some of the best telescopes in the world.


So, without the best of conditions we know we can do it. “Built in Dublin” i’m going to use that! You don’t require super fast broadband to be best in the world, you might just need to not think you can’t be best in the world at what it is that you are best at building.

from Grubbs of Dublin / Grubb Parsons 1830-1985

With the success of those orders Thomas (Grubb) turned his attention to telescopes and mounts exclusively. He founded Grubbs of Dublin, a company specializing in large observatory instruments that provided telescopes to some of the world’s largest observatories throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

His son, Howard, was born in 1844. With such great exposure to the astronomical world from both his father and a near neighbor, the third Earl of Rosse, Howard himself developed an interest in telescope building. Like his father he attended Trinity College, but left before graduating to help in the family business. He joined the company in 1865, three years before his father’s retirement, and took charge of the business after Thomas’ death in 1878. It was under Sir Howard’s leadership that the business gained world wide recognition, building some of the nineteenth century’s greatest telescopes, including the 48″ Great Melbourne Telescope, the 27″ refractor for Royal Observatory in Vienna, the largest refractor in the world at that time. It was the Vienna refractor that really established Howard’s reputation. From that time on Grubb’s recieved contracts from the world’s greatest observatories, and Howard was knighted in 1887.

Grubb also supplied optical devices to the Allies during the first world war. The periscope had recently been invented, but had design flaws. Howard Grubb corrected the problems and came up with a device the military could use.