Gold Tier International Award for Mayo’s Dark Skies

The International Dark-Sky Association has granted Gold-tier International Dark Sky Park status to Ballycroy National Park & Wild Nephin Wilderness – to be jointly recognized as Mayo Dark Sky Park.

County Mayo, situated in western Ireland, is widely celebrated for its rugged and unspoiled landscape on the edge of Europe’s wild Atlantic coastline. A Gold-tier classification is an honor reserved for the most exceptional of dark skies and stunning nightscapes. This recognition completes the “360 degree experience” that this stunning region has to offer.

The award is the first International Dark Sky Park in Ireland and is a wonderful recognition for the region’s pristine skies, enhancing its existing protected landscapes and wilderness regions. This is the second IDA designation in Ireland.

“We are honored to have received Gold-tier International Dark Sky Park Status,” said National Parks and Wildlife Service Regional Manager William Cormacan. “We are fully committed to preserving our pristine dark skies and are excited by the many opportunities that this accreditation will present for local tourism, businesses and the park.”

The Mayo Dark-Sky designation follows a lengthy period of night sky surveying and quality monitoring by students of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technolog. Assisted by Professor Brian Espey of Trinity College Dublin’s Astrophysics Department, the research resulted in collaboration among communities in Newport, Ballycroy & Mulrannny together with Ballycroy National Park, Coillte Forestry, Mayo County Council, Mayo South West Development and Galway Astronomy Club.

The group formed the “Friends of Mayo Dark-Skies” steering committee and submitted the application for dark sky status in January of this year.

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