Met Éireann - History

History

The history of modern meteorology in Ireland dates back to 8 October 1860, when the first weather observations were transmitted from Valentia Observatory on Valentia Island in County Kerry to the British Meteorological Office. A network of weather stations was established around the coasts of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Following Irish independence in 1922, the Irish Free State continued to rely on the British Met Office for weather services, and the Met Office continued to administer the weather stations around Ireland. With the advent of transatlantic air services in the 1930s, it was decided that Ireland needed its own weather service to provide detailed aviation weather reports.

In 1936, the Irish Meteorological Service was set up with its headquarters in St. Andrew's Street, Dublin. In 1937 it took over the network of weather stations from the British Met Office. On the date of transfer, the Irish weather observation network consisted of the following stations:

  • Valentia Observatory, then the only permanently manned weather station
  • 4 telegraphic stations (at Malin Head, Blacksod Point, Roches Point and Birr)
  • 18 climatological stations
  • 172 rainfall stations

At first, the new weather service was bolstered by Met Office employees seconded from London, but by 1941 they were able to depend on their own resources. During the Emergency (as the Second World War was referred to in neutral Ireland), the Irish Meteorological Service supplied the Allies with weather information despite Ireland's neutrality. The decision to go ahead with the D-day landings was made following a favourable weather report from the Blacksod Point weather station in County Mayo.

The service expanded rapidly in the post-war years, with its headquarters relocating to O'Connell Street in Dublin. The service began supplying forecasts to Radio Éireann from 1948, to daily newspapers from 1952, to television from shortly after the first Radio Telefís Éireann television broadcasts in 1962, and recorded telephone forecasts in the 1960s. Ireland joined the World Meteorological Organisation in the 1950s, and was a founder member of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in 1975 and EUMETSAT in 1983.

In 1979, the service moved to new purpose-built premises in Glasnevin, Dublin, and in 1996 it was renamed to Met Éireann.

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