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Unveiling of commemorative plaque to John Joly

September 2015

A commemorative plaque to John Joly, the Trinity scientist was unveiled on 26 September at his birthplace, Hollywood House, Bracknagh, Co. Offaly.

John Joly was born in the rectory on 1st November 1857 but lived most of his life in Dublin. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin where he remained for the whole of his career which culminated in his appointment as Professor of Geology and Mineralogy in 1897. He held this chair until his death in 1933.

Amongst his considerable scientific achievements were his invention of a colour photographic process, his studies on melting points of minerals and the specific heat of gases, his geochronological investigations into the age of the Earth for hich he utilised several different schemes, and he was a pioneer in the study of radioactive elements in rocks. He was instrumental in establishing the Irish Radium Institute which advanced the medical and therapeutic uses of radioactivity.

John Joly was also present in College during Easter 1916.

The commemorative event was arranged by Amanda Pedlow (Co. Offaly Heritage Officer) and kindly facilitated and hosted by Joan Curtin and her family, current owners of Hollywood House. Prior to the unveiling Dr Ciaran Reilly (Maynooth) spoke on the early history of the Joly family in the area, Dr Norman MacMillan (Secretary of the National Committee for Science and Technology Commemorative Plaques) outlined the work of that committee and Eamon Dooley (Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council) welcomed those gathered. Dr Patrick Wyse Jackson (TCD) then spoke on the life and significance of John Joly's scientific work before unveiling the plaque.