It’s easy to go off the beaten track
in Ireland. When you venture outside the cities, you’ll find the green rolling hills that the island of Ireland is famous for, quaint villages dotted haphazardly along your journey and long winding lanes that will lead you to your next unforgettable adventure. So it comes as no surprise that the island of Ireland has not one, but two Dark Sky Places
If you head to County Kerry
on the Wild Atlantic Way
, you’ll find the Kerry Dark Sky
Reserve, one of the only three Gold Tier Reserves on the planet. Located between the Kerry Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll be amazed by the inky black skies and the thousands of stars that will twinkle back at you. Here you’ll be able to spy the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy, star clusters and more. Surrounded by long beaches and remote wilderness, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped away from the real world.
If you move further up the country you’ll find County Mayo’s Dark Sky Park
. On a very clear night, you can see more than 4,500 shining stars, planets and meteor showers, all with the naked eye! At the Dark Sky Park, you don’t have to be an astronomer, just enthusiastic! There’s an education programme all year round to help you learn more about environmentally friendly practices, and how you can help preserve these places for future generations to come.
You don’t have to travel very far these days to see the Northern Lights. If you’re very lucky, you may even be able to spot them from the island of Ireland. The Northern Headlands
are usually the best spot to see them, particularly Malin Head
in County Donegal
. The best time to view them is between November and February, as the nights will be longer and darker, although it’s hard to predict when this spectacular phenomenon will appear! So wrap up warm and bring a hot drink… the nights may be long and cold, but the reward will be spellbinding.
If you don’t fancy spending your nights in the cold weather, then why not cosy up in the Finn Lough Bubble Domes
in County Fermanagh? Relax in the height of luxury within these completely transparent walls. Surround yourself with nature and watch the stars pass you by…
Can our Community members recommend any other stargazing spots for our budding astronomers?