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Meteorites and Space

Esquel meteorite, Argentina, NMING:R3932
The National Museum of Ireland collection of meteorites started in the early 1800s and holds hundreds of examples of meteorites, tektites, and even a Moon rock from Apollo 17. There are also plates from an Irish experiment to measure cosmic rays, that were carried to the Moon and back on Apollo 16 and Apollo 17.

Meteorites are pieces of rock left over from the early stages of our Solar System. Most have origins in the Asteroid Belt but some in the collections are fragments of the Moon and Mars. They are named after the places where they fall to Earth. There are seven Irish meteorite falls known to date:
  • Pettiswood, Co. Westmeath 1779
  • Mooresfort, Co. Tipperary 1810
  • Limerick, Co. Limerick 1813
  • Killeter, Co. Tyrone 1844
  • Dundrum, Co. Tipperary 1865
  • Crumlin, Co. Antrim 1902
  • Bovedy, Co. Antrim 1969
  • Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow 1999
Tektites are fragments of glassy appearance that can be formed when large meteorites or comets collide with the Earth and produce raindrops of molten rock that can be spead over areas the size of a continent. 


Publications on the collection:

  • Ball, V. 1882. Catalogue of the examples of meteoric falls in the museums of Dublin. Scientific Proceedings, Royal Dublin Society8 (New Series): 298-301.
  • Giesecke, C. L. 1832. A descriptive catalogue of a new collection of minerals in the Museum of the Royal Dublin Society. To which is added  an Irish mineralogy. R. Graisberry, Dublin, 268pp.
  • Hill, H. G. M. 1994. Aspects of the petrology and chemistry of the Irish chondritic meteorites. Unpublished MSc Thesis, University of Dublin.
  • Seymour, H. J. 1947. On a recent addition to the collection of Irish meteorites in the National Museum Dublin. Scientific Proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society24: 157-164.
  • Seymour, H. J. 1951. Catalogue of the examples of meteoritic falls in Irish museums. Scientific Proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society25: 193‑199.

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