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Mayo Dark Sky Festival & European Symposium for the Protection of the Night Sky’

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Ronan Newman's picture
Last seen: 1 week 5 days ago
Joined: 26/11/2018 - 18:25
Mayo Dark Sky Festival & European Symposium for the Protection of the Night Sky’

 Just a quick note on two interesting events coming up in the West of Ireland, we have fantastic skies here when its not raining but we also have a dedicated IDA Dark Sky Park.   But despite its small size, Ireland is a big hitter on the world stage when it comes to star-gazing. We have two “gold tier international dark sky area's, one "park" in Mayo and the other a much larger "reserve" in Kerry.  Here in County Mayo nestled between the remote Nephin Mountain Range and the unspoiled Atlantic coastline, the Dark Sky Park extends across an area of 150km2. Its borders encompass both Ballycroy National Park and Wild Nephin wilderness.

The Mayo Dark Sky Festival was founded by myself back in 2016 and back then Nick James of the BAA was our main speaker giving two excellent talks on "1000 years of Great Comets" and "The Moon". Since then I have left the committee but the event has expanded and  grown to become a three-day exploration of Dark Skies, Biodiversity and Astronomy and Astrophysics. This is the fourth year of the festival (1st-3rd of November) which provides ample opportunities to learn about astronomy for people of all ages. The event is centred around Hotel Newport in Newport but is also in the nearby towns of Mulranny and Ballycroy. Speakers this year include Canadian Astronaut;  Dr. Robert Thirsk, Prof Mark McCaughrean, Senior Advisor for Science & Exploration at the European Space Agency, Gary Fildes of Kielder Observatory amongst others.

It will be immediately followed by the European Symposium for the Protection of the Night Sky, collaboration with Dark Sky Ireland and an international organising panel.  

 The 2019 program offers a platform for research, activism and policy discussions on protecting the night sky featuring, Plenary talks and workshops, Research presentations,  3 invited guest speakers including Bob Mizon of the Coordinator of the BAA Commission for Dark Skies, see


Ronan Newman

nickjames's picture
Last seen: 13 hours 15 min ago
Joined: 12/10/2013 - 18:16
Newport is a lovely location

Ronan, I can't make it this year but I can absolutely commend this meeting to anyone in the BAA who is thinking of going. It covers a subject which is really important to all of us, not only observers but people who value the natural environment. Newport is a great town and the skies are really dark between occasional clouds.