This display tells the story of the Crumlin Meteorite that fell to earth on 13 September 1902 near Crumlin, about 20km west of Belfast.

John Adams, an employee of farmer Mr Walker was picking apples on the edge of a cornfield. Adams was startled by a loud bang he thought was the bursting of a boiler at the local mill. Another loud sound, like that of escaping steam from a kettle, followed and then the sound of an object hitting the ground came after. Adams turned around and saw a cloud of dust and a charred black object sitting in a shallow crater. It was ’warm to the touch’ and had a sulphurous odour.

The Crumlin Meteorite was 4.2kg and classified as an ordinary L5 chondrite ‘fall’ meaning it has low iron content and its descent to earth was witnessed (as opposed to a ‘find’ whose fall is not seen by humans).

Meteorites are important as scientists tell us they can date the age of the universe from examining them and tell us what planets are made from.

The Crumlin Meteorite was purchased from Mr Adams by the British Museum (BM) and is displayed in London. Meteorites are rare, only 8 are recorded as falling in Ireland in the last 200 years.

The removal of the rock by the BM was controversial with the press accusing the BM of stealing Irish treasures. A facsimile of the original meteorite and a small silver sliver of the meteorite is on display.