Frequenty Asked Questions

What is a Dark Sky Park?

A Dark Sky Park is more than just dark, it is a place where exceptional starry skies are protected and valued as an important educational, cultural, scenic and natural resource. By protecting our dark skies we help ecosystems and wildlife, attract off- season tourism and reduce our carbon footprint.

In May 2016, the International Dark-Sky Association awarded us a Gold Tier standard of International Dark Sky Park. The certification process is modeled on conservation programmes, such as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves.

A Gold Tier award is the highest possible accolade, meaning that Mayo is now internationally recognised as one of the best places in the world to view the wonders of the night.

What is the International Dark Sky Association?

Since 1988, the International Dark-sky Association (IDA) (a non-profit organisation based in the USA) has been working to preserve and protect the night time environment and our heritage of dark skies through environmentally responsible outdoor lighting. The IDA is the world recognised authority on light pollution.

Why are Dark Skies Important?

Millions of children throughout the world will never see The Milky Way because of light pollution (an inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light). Light pollution not only steals our view of the stars, it wastes money and has adverse effects on our health, wildlife and environment. Dark Sky places preserve the starry skies, inspire creativity and reconnect us with the natural beauty of the night.

If I live near a Dark Sky Park, Will I be asked to turn off the lights?

No, absolutely not. We are not asking residents to turn light off or make unnecessary changes. Instead, we hope to encourage people to use less and/or more appropriate lighting as and when necessary. We have provided more details in our section on Light Pollution along with a downloadable guide.

How will it affect me?

We will promote the opportunities available to local businesses and communities through the dark sky project such as an increased tourist market and longer tourist season, based on astronomy and appreciation of the nocturnal environment, particularly during the quieter, winter months.

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