Stargazing is one of the most exciting activities you can engage in while in Ireland. Some places have a better night sky than others, so check out the top sites to see Ireland’s night sky.
Ireland is one of the best countries to experience stargazing. The nights are so dark that Astro tourism is fast becoming standard in the country. It is an extra perk that the country has three International Dark Sky places and is applying for more. Add stargazing to your itinerary as you plan your trip to Ireland. These are some top places to have the best experience stargazing in Ireland.
Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve
Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve is one of Ireland’s three International Dark Sky Places. It became the country’s first International Dark Sky Reserve when it was accredited in 2014. Located in County Kerry, the Reserve covers a 270-square-mile area stretching to the Wild Atlantic Way.
There are several International Dark Sky places in Ireland. Photo by Pixabay
To have the best experience stargazing at Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve, you should try to secure a spot at the foot of the Coomanaspig Pass. Another prime spot is the old watchtower on Bray Head. Once you find a good spot, let all your inhibitions go and enjoy the display of stars in the night.
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Mayo International Dark Sky Park
Mayo Dark Sky Park is the first park accredited by the International Dark Sky Association in Ireland. It attained Gold Tier status in 2016 and was acknowledged as one of the best spots for stargazing in the world. Mayo Dark Sky Park covers about 60 square miles of Wild Nephine National Park land. Located between the Nephin Mountain Range and the Atlantic coastline, the Park has three prime spots for stargazing.
International Dark Sky week is held in April each year. Photo by Erike Fusiki
The first is on the Ballycroy Visitor Centre boardwalk, and the second is the Brogan Carroll Bothy at the Letter keen trailhead. The third place for optimum experience is the Claggan Mountain Coastal Trail boardwalk path. You can create more memories if you visit in November when the park holds the annual Mayo Dark Sky Festival. Another prime time is April when the International Dark Sky Week is held.
Om Dark Sky Park and Observatory
Om Dark Sky Park and Observatory is the third International Dark Sky Place accredited in Ireland, located at Davagh Forest in County Tyrone. As an accredited Dark Sky Place, you can be assured of the sky quality in the park. In addition, as it was purposely built for stargazing, the observatory possesses high-quality tech and equipment that rival other spots in the area.
The dark sky is awe-inspiring in Ireland.
One benefit of Om Dark Sky Park and Observatory stargazing is the on-site accommodation. You can also book a guided tour to learn about the area, constellations, and topics related to astronomy and archaeology.
Connemara, County Galway
Connemara in County Galway is one of the darkest places in the entire country. However, you can take your telescope and watch the constellations when the night settles in. The site’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean also gives the night sky a dark and rich quality that enhances its beauty. The Galway Astronomy Club observes on Fridays from a spot close to Beama wind farm. They also host their annual Astrofest at the nearby Westwood House Hotel.
You can try to stargaze in one of these spots as they have guaranteed night sky quality. However, during the day, your time is best spent exploring the scenery through a drive and enjoying good food and drinks.
The Antrim Coast
The Antrim Coast is famous among stargazers for its dark sky quality. The road stretches to areas where you can watch the aurora make a show. The quality of the night sky is so excellent that you can spot the Galaxy with your naked eyes on clear nights. The Antrim Coast is one of the two regions designated Milky Way Class by the Dark Sky Discovery Partnership.
The Antrim Coast is designated Milky Way Class by the Dark Sky Discovery Partnership. Photo by Dương Nhân
You can do some popular culture tourism on the Antrim Coast by visiting Dunluce Castle, which was used in Game of Thrones. It is a prime spot to observe the Galaxy, especially when the auroral oval touches the sky. Astronomers regularly use the place for observation too.
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Take time out during your trip to Ireland for stargazing. With this guide, we hope you discover that these places for stargazing in Ireland will help you create unforgettable memories of your trip. Be sure to check out more ideas on Wander for what to see when you visit Ireland.
Stargazing in Ireland: Top Places to Behold the Night Sky