The study of astronomy in Ireland receives a boost with the opening of a planetarium in Schull, County Cork.

Schull Community College is home to the Republic of Ireland’s first planetarium, which was officially opened by President Patrick Hillery. 

The planetarium began life when Josef Menke, a German industrialist and amateur astronomer who owned a holiday home in the west Cork coastal village, donated two telescopes and pledged a £50,000 sky projector for a planetarium if the community could provide the building. 

The Schull Development Association, Cork County Council, Cork Vocational Education Committee and many other statutory bodies rose to the challenge, and now the local community college is poised to become the centre of Irish astronomical studies.

Principal Vincent Ahern is delighted in particular for students who now have the opportunity to study astronomy.  The college hopes to have astronomy as part of the general curriculum and will teach the English GCSE astronomy syllabus. 

It’s fortunate for us that we have get the opportunity in that circumstances have provided that it was in Schull the German industrialist chose to live, and it was here that he made the offer.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 9 March 1989.  The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.