Leighlinbridge is a picturesque and historic village located on the river Barrow about 10km south of Carlow town Ireland. It is the location where the last meteorite to fall in Ireland was recovered. It is thought that it is the last known meteorite of the last millennium to have landed on earth and to have been recovered. The rock which is billions of years old was recovered by an elderly lady on December 12th 1999, a fortnight after it had fallen. The International Meteorite Nomenclature Committee has officially named the meteorite ‘Leighlinbridge’
Apart from the ‘Leighlinbridge’ at least eight other meteorites have been recovered in Ireland. Each one is named after the area in which it was found. The ‘Pettiswood’ landed in 1779 near Mullingar Co Westmeath. In 1810 the ‘Mooresoft’ landed near Lattin, Co Tipperary. The ‘Limerick’ fell to earth near Adare, Co Limerick in 1813. The ‘Killeter’ landed near the town of Castlederg Co Tyrone in 1844. In 1865 the ‘Dundrum’ fell near the village of Dundrum in Co Tipperary. The ‘Crumlin’ fell near Crumlin in Co Antrim in 1902 and in 1969 the ‘Bovedy’ fell near the town of Limavady in Co Derry. Parts of the meteorites are stored in the National Museum in Dublin and the Natural History Museum in London and the Smithsonian Institute in the US.
On the night the ‘Leighlinbridge’ fell to earth an exploding fireball lasting several seconds was observed over Carlow town. This was followed by a loud noise from the following sound waves, which were travelling more slowly and which caused houses to shake. Following the initial discovery on December 14th two more pieces of the meteorite were found later. A Scottish meteor dealer purchased the Leighlinbridge Meteor for £20,000. It was analysed at the National History Museum in London and a piece of the meteorite weighing about a gram was offered for sale in 2009 for £250.
The Leighlinbridge Meteorite lit up the night sky over Carlow as it fell to earth just after 10pm in the year 1999 On This Day.
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