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Sandymount Strand Sundial
Dial at Sandymount Strand.
Sandymount Strand
Sandymount Strand is a large sandy beach on the south side of Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland.
In 1983, to celebrate the birthday of the Irish writer James Joyce, a pair of granite sculptures were erected in the Irishtown Sean Moore playing fields at the northern end of the Strand. In Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’, Leopold Bloom walks towards Dun Laoghaire, along Sandymount Strand, hence the choice of site. And in ‘Finnegans Wake’ Joyce coined the word ‘Quark’ which is used by scientists to describe an elementary particle and fundamental constituent of matter. The sculptures were commissioned by the Dublin History Workshop, who were approached by the artist, Clíodna Cussen, with the idea of making a sun aligned stone monument on the foreshore of the Strand.
An Gallán Gréine.
Marker stone              An Gallán Gréine

The piece was inspired by the clear view of the sunrise during the winter solstice from this point on the beach and consists of two elements. The largest, 4.3 metres high, is called An Gallán Gréine [The Sun Pillar] and resembles a massive single open-quotation mark
An Gallán Gréine has equation designs on its sides, which were inspired by Dr Ian Elliott of Dunsink Observatory who helped with the alignment of the stones. One of the equations shows the coming together of matter as provided by Dr Theodore Garavaglia from the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies. Nearby is a low, 0.6 metre high name stone engraved ‘AN GALLÁN GRÉINE do JAMES JOYCE’ [THE SUN PILLAR for JAMES JOYCE].
An Clog Gréine .
An Clog Gréine

The other stone, An Clog Gréine [The Sundial ] is a 1.5 metres high Polar Sundial located about 150 metres north west of An Gallán Gréine. To view the Winter Solstice alignment : on the mornings around the 21st December stand at An Clog Gréine and as the sun rises over Killiney Hill it will be seen to be in line with the distant Gallán Gréine and the name stone.
An Clog Gréine .
An Clog Gréine

An Clog Gréine is a 'Polar Sundial'. Common garden sundials have a horizontal dial plate with a triangular gnomon (the shadow caster which is set at the latitude of the location) and the hour lines radiate from the root of the gnomon. A 'Polar Sundial' has the plate face inclined at the latitude of the place with the gnomon vertically on the 12 o'clock hour line. Its upper edges and face are parallel to the dial plate and the hour lines are parallel to each other and the gnomon.
Polar Times .
Hour Lines on a polar dial
NOTE the noon gap to compensate for the gnomon thickness
The hour lines run 7-8-9-10-11-12 then 12-1-2-3-4-5.The morning hours are indicated by the receding edge of the shadow, the afternoon by the advancing edge. Noon occurs at the instant when the shadow disappears and then reappears from under the gnomon.
Watch time differs from sundial time by approximately 1½ hours during the summer, ½ in the winter.
Click here for my explanation as to why they differ

The Gallán Gréine story above was gleaned from various sources on the internet. If you can verify or correct the text please email me. Hi-res photos would be appreciated.MJH

Lat 53° 19' North   Long 6° 12' West

Irish Grid   O   319500   231870

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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