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Big Bronze 'Time Ball' Dubliners Could Get Back

4th October 2017
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Plan afoot to reinstate historic Ballast House timepiece mentioned in Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’. The Ballast House time ball (see top left) was taken down in 1920. It came from a time when the city were on Dublin time rather than GMT. Plan afoot to reinstate historic Ballast House timepiece mentioned in Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’. The Ballast House time ball (see top left) was taken down in 1920. It came from a time when the city were on Dublin time rather than GMT. Photo: National Library of Ireland

#dublinport - The Irish Times writes that the giant bronze timepiece the “time ball” that was visible across Dublin city until the time of the 1916 Rising, could be reinstated as part of the refurbishment of Ballast House at O’Connell Bridge.

The time ball, which was erected at the tip of a mast on top of the old Ballast Office in the mid-1860s, then headquarters of Dublin Port, was dropped 6ft at 1pm every day to allow ships in the docks to set their chronometers to Greenwich Mean Time.

However, when the ball dropped at 1pm GMT, for the rest of the city, it was just 12.45 DMT – Dublin Mean Time. The capital, and much of the country kept to its own time through most of the Victorian era, recognising the fact that the sun rose and set 25 minutes later in Dublin than London.

The newspaper has further coverage here. 

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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