Planet Earth: Our Place in Space, a new temporary exhibition based on the geological collections from the National Museum of Ireland – Natural History this week opened in the National Museum Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar . The exhibition will run until the end of February 2009.
This exhibition provides an opportunity to see at first hand some of the most important rocks and minerals that make up our home. It includes a collection of meteorites, many of which fell in Ireland, that tell us more about the origins of our planet. One of the exhibition highlights is the Limerick Meteorite that fell near Adare, County Limerick in 1813, Ireland's largest ever meteorite weighing in at 27 kilos. These specimens will be used to explain what meteorites tell us about the early solar system and also what we know about the earth as a planet. Minerals and rocks will further illustrate what the earth is made of and its nature as a planet.
Nigel Monaghan, exhibition curator, explains “these meteorites came to the museum because people centuries ago saw them as significant even if they were a scientific puzzle at the time. I am delighted to see them on public view in a way that explains the fascinating stories they can tell. Hopefully people will become more aware of the importance of meteorites to Irish science. It would be great if the next time one falls we get a call from the finder.” 2009 is the 40th anniversary of man landing on the moon, another rocky body orbiting our planet. The piece of moon rock presented to the Irish State from the Apollo 17 mission of 1972 will be on general public display for the first time, complete with an Irish tricolour flag that was brought to the moon.
Visitors are invited to celebrate International Year of Planet Earth 2008 with a visit to some of these earthly and cosmic treasures. The exhibition will also feature some of the folk traditions associated with the moon and the stars. A number of education activities will also take place to complement the exhibition. Admission to the exhibition is free. Opening times: Tuesday -Saturday: 10am – 5pm; Sunday: 2-5pm. Closed Mondays (including Bank holidays ).