Vol. 3: Lunney, Linde.

Type: Article

Lunney, Linde. ‘The Celebrated Mr. Dinwiddie: an Eighteenth-Century Scientist in Ireland’, Eighteenth-century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr, Vol. 3 (1988), pp 69-83.

Scientist James Dinwiddie, a native of Scotland, arrived in Belfast in July 1779 to give lectures on “Experimental Philosophy”, including the topics of Electricity, Mechanics, Hydrostatics, Pneumatics, Magnetics, Optics and Astronomy. His other interests and experiments included the diving bell, hot air balloons, and a ‘flying chariot’. As he toured the country, his lectures achieved great popularity, earning him celebrity status as both scientist and entertainer. His lectures in Cork in 1780 on fortification and gunnery drew considerable crowds during the period of the Volunteer activity. The article covers Dinwiddie’s career, his financial troubles, and his ongoing ‘balloon rivalry’ with Richard Crosbie in Dublin, demonstrating the level of public enthusiasm for science and lectures in eighteenth-century Ireland.