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Twins Kate and Matthew Kirwan (age seven) at the Irish Museum of Time in Waterford Patrick Browne
Tick tock

Staff at Irish Museum of Time to change over 600 clocks as Daylight Saving begins on Sunday

Ireland’s long history of horology is on display at the Greyfriars church in Waterford City, home to the Irish Museum of Time.

THE CLOCKS GO forward by one hour at 1am on Sunday, and with that a team of staff and volunteers at The Irish Museum of Time are busy preparing to take shifts in changing the time on over 600 clocks.

Ireland’s long history of horology is on display at the Greyfriars church in Waterford City, home to the Irish Museum of Time.

“The process of changing the time on each clock is a slow and steady one,” Rosemary Ryan, acting curator manager of the Waterford Treasures Museums said. 

“We only have two people working on changing the time on the pieces at any given moment, as some of the clocks have certain little quirks when you wind them, so it’s an exercise of patience,” Ryan said. 

Some of the clocks at the museum are eight-day clocks, she explained, “so about 25 will already have been wound and changed”.

“Anyway, as Einstein said, ‘the distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion’ or as Douglas Adams added ‘Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so’,” Ryan added. 

picture-patrick-browne A view of the Irish Museum of Time Patrick Browne Patrick Browne

Turret clocks that once adorned church steeples and a line of 10 grandfather clocks illustrating the evolution of Irish clock-making from the 17th to early 20th centuries are among the over 1,000 timepieces and related ephemera on display in the museum.

“Along with the oldest Irish clocks, the museum also has pieces from around the world, including from the US, UK, France, Austria, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, and Japan, so as you can imagine, changing the time on all of these historic pieces is a time-consuming process,” Ryan said. 

picture-patrick-browne The museum features the oldest Irish-made grandfather clocks, table clocks and watches in the world Patrick Browne Patrick Browne

The museum is also home to the oldest clock in the world with an anchor escapement, a bracket clock made in London by William Clement and it is from 1663.

An anchor escapement is what makes a clock tick and the clock in particular was acquired by horologist David Boles from Ballinamona House in Waterford.

The Irish Museum of Time is part of the Waterford Treasures collective of museums which also includes the Medieval Museum, Bishop’s Palace, The Irish Wake Museum, The Irish Silver Museum, and the Viking VR Experience.

All of these museums are open seven days a week and further information can be found here

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