Richard Kirwan

Given the recent atypical Irish weather, the Oireachtas Library & Research Service is taking a look back at the early days of scientific weather observation in Ireland. This month’s document in the display case is A Comparative View of Meteorological Observations Made in Ireland (circa 1793).

This paper, which was read by Richard Kirwan at the Royal Irish Academy on 2 February 1793, is a daily record of the weather in Ireland during the years 1789 and 1790. It is included in a volume entitled Kirwan’s essays and sundries others and was acquired by the Houses of the Oireachtas Library in the 1920s.

Many of Kirwan’s ideas anticipated 20th-century concepts, for example his theory of air masses. His predictions were said to have been so well respected that farmers delayed their sowing until they knew his latest forecast.

To find out more about Richard Kirwan, visit the display case digital exhibition.