Museum of clocks set to ‘Spring Forward’ 

Museum of clocks set to ‘Spring Forward’ 

The Irish Museum of Time prepares for the clock change this weekend

Museum of clocks set to ‘Spring Forward’;  As the clocks go forward by one hour at 1 am on this Sunday, March 31st a team of staff and volunteers at The Irish Museum of Time are busy preparing to take shifts in changing the time on over 600 clocks.

Ireland’s long history of horology is on display at the beautiful Greyfriars church in Waterford City, home to the Irish Museum of Time. Turret clocks that once adorned church steeples and a line of 10 grandfather clocks illustrating the evolution of Irish clock-making from the 17th to early 20th centuries are among the over 1,000 timepieces and related ephemera on display in the museum.

Museum of clocks set to ‘Spring Forward’ 
Pictured are visitors to the new Irish Museum of Time twins Kate and Matthew Kirwan (age 7) – Photo Patrick Browne.

Acting Curator Manager of the Waterford Treasures Museums Rosemary Ryan says, “Along with the oldest Irish clocks, the museum also has pieces from around the world, including from the US, UK, France, Austria, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, and Japan, so as you can imagine, changing the time on all of these historic pieces is a time-consuming process.”

“The process of changing the time on each clock is a slow and steady one. We only have two people working on changing the time on the pieces at any given moment, as some of the clocks have certain little quirks when you wind them, so it’s an exercise of patience. Some of the clocks are eight-day clocks, so about 25 will already have been wound and changed. Anyway, as Einstein said, ‘the distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion’ or as Douglas Adams added ‘Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so’.” 

Museum of clocks set to ‘Spring Forward’ 
Pictured are twins Kate and Matthew Kirwan (age 7) at the Irish Museum of Time in Waterford – Photo Patrick Browne.

The collection was made possible by donations from two of the country’s best and long-standing horologists, David Boles and Colman Curran, both from Dublin, who have given their collections of timepieces to the museum and who will both join in the changing of the clocks this weekend.

The museum is also home to the oldest clock in the world with an anchor escapement, a bracket clock made in London by William Clement and it is from 1663. An anchor escapement is what makes a clock tick and the clock in particular was acquired by Mr Boles from Ballinamona House in Waterford, home of Major Carew.

The Irish Museum of Time is part of the Waterford Treasures collective of museums which also includes the Medieval Museum, Bishop’s Palace, The Irish Wake Museum, The Irish Silver Museum, and the Viking VR Experience, all of the museums are open 7 days per week, see