Walking through the grounds of Belfield recently on one of the woodland walks in the direction of Roebuck Road, I came across what looked like a Grecian temple. I was not sure what it was used for. But finding a useful leaflet on UCD’s period houses and the history of the vast campus, I discovered that it is known as the Magnetic Observatory.
The brochure explains this is not an original feature of the Belfield campus, as it was first built in the 1830s in the Fellows’ Garden of Trinity College Dublin.
To facilitate the construction of Trinity’s new Arts and Social Science Building, the Magnetic Observatory was gifted to UCD in the 1970s, where it was rebuilt stone-by-stone. It was designed by architect Frederick Darley (1764-1841), who was once described as “among the most eminent architects of the kingdom”. The building is in the form of a classical Grecian Doric temple.