Dublin, Ireland

Eureka! One of the world's greatest science walks

Eureka! One of the world's greatest science walks

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9 tour stops


Welcome & Introduction

Meet your guide, for an outline of our tour celebrating William Rowan Hamilton.

2 min

Why was Hamilton so important?

We join the 2011 annual walk at Dunsink Observatory to find out.

15 min

The story of Ireland's longest canal

A short history of canals and especially the lovely Royal Canal

6 min

What wave does a duck wake make?!

Does it matter how fast the bird a boat is travelling?

3 min

How do canal locks work?

Canal locks are ingenious engineering, that let boats travel uphill.

4 min

Canal-side science: the story of Solitons

How singular waves, or solitons, were also discovered beside a canal.

2 min

Why does the railway run beside the canal?

How, in 1844, a railway nearly replaced the waterway

2 min

The plaque at Broome Bridge, place of pilgrimage

Our final stop is the commerative plaque on Broome Bridge

6 min

Jack Gannon's Ballad of William Rowan Hamilto

Written and sung by local man, Jack Gannon.

4 min


This lovely walk by Dublin's Royal Canal is one of the greatest science walks, and a popular pilgrimage for geeks from around the world. We celebrate a famous Eureka moment in 1843, when Sir William Rowan Hamilton had a flash of inspiration while walking by the canal, and invented a revolutionary new type of algebra, called Quaternions. Every year, on the October 16th anniversary, hundreds of people retrace Hamilton’s footsteps from Dunsink Observatory to Broome Bridge, where he famously scratched his equation on a stone. Our tour joins the annual walk: enjoy the ballad, meet the people, explore the canal’s wildlife, science and engineering, and learn about Hamilton and his amazing algebra, which helped to land a man on the Moon!

Itinerary 3.0 km / 1:00

Offline map included

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