Tuesday 16 September 2014

Historic 'Big Ben' clock back home – after 40 years

Emma Jane Hade

Published 16/07/2014 | 02:30

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Michael O'Hora, County Librarian Donal Tinney, Vincent O'Hora, Angela McGurrin, Sligo Library, and Noel O'Hora with the clock

A CLOCK from the same makers of the iconic Big Ben timepiece has found its way home to Sligo after 40 years.

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The Sligo County Museum was recently presented with the prestigious Dent 82 clock – thought to be at least 170 years old – which originally came from the observatory at Markree Castle in the county.

The damaged clock was returned to its former glory after undergoing extensive restoration by Mayo native and clock enthusiast, the late Nathy O'Hora.

The 87-year-old died earlier this year, but left a letter with his son which explained how he discovered the clock and its connections in the 1970s.

After a holiday in London with friends in 1948, Mr O'Hora got a job with the Royal Greenwich Observatory, where he eventually became the head of the department responsible for time.

Through his research and work, the Kiltimagh native said he was "astonished" to discover there was once an astronomy tower in Markree, Co Sligo – close to where he was reared.

On a visit to Ireland in the 1970s, Mr O'Hora visited the country home and came upon the almost charred remains of a clock in a "domestic bonfire".

"I cannot say how angry I was to see the destruction of such a fine instrument," he wrote in the letter.

Mr O'Hora's family presented the restored clock to the Sligo County Museum for its local history collection.

Irish Independent

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