Record number of Mayo Dark Sky Champions 2023

Mayo is astronomical! Dark Sky Champion Training course attracts participants from all over the county…

Over 80 people from Mayo’s tourism and hospitality sector became Dark Sky Champions this week. Hosted by Mayo Dark Sky Park and the Friends of Mayo Dark Skies community group, training sessions ran in both Westport Cinema and the Ballycroy Visitor Centre ofWild Nephin National Park bringing experts to Mayo to present on this growing form of ecotourism, and the potential for local businesses to benefit from Mayo’s dark sky destination status.

Duncan Wise, Tourism Development Officer from Northumberland National Park offered insights on how the dark sky region in Northumberland has developed an off-season business worth an astronomical £25m and 450 jobs to the local economy*.His engaging talk, used case studies to demonstrate how local businesses had collaborated with the dark sky park to create dark sky tourism experiences and attractions.

Dr Tony Johnston, Research Director of TUS Shannon presented his work on a new European project specifically focused on Dark Sky Ecotourism with the aim of providing guides and education for tourism business and building resources for areas seeking to promote sustainable dark sky tourism.

Attendees received a certificate of completion and an info pack with guidelines on how to make their premises dark sky friendly and attract more tourists interested in exploring Mayo’s gold tier International Dark Sky Park and surrounds, after all “Half the park is after Dark”.

The newly trained Mayo Dark Sky Champions included a diverse group of attendees from the hospitality trade to community representatives,who now have tools to adapt their off season market offerings to attract this sustainable form of tourism into county.

The future looks bright for dark skies in County Mayo. 

More info: 

Georgia MacMillan 

Mayo Dark Sky Park Development Officer
IRC Employment Based PhD Scholar in partnership with NPWS and NUI Galway

Mayo Dark Sky Park / Wild Nephin National Park
Páirc na Spéire Dorcha Maigh Eo
An accredited International Dark Sky Park with the International Dark-sky Association /

An Roinn Tithíochta, Rialtais Áitiúil agus Oidhreachta
Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Seirbhís Páirceanna Náisiúnta agus Fiadhúlra, Lag Dubh Mór, Baile Chruaich, Cathair na Mart, Co. Mhaigh Eo, F28 XF50, Éire
National Parks & Wildlife Service, Lagduff More, Ballycroy, Westport, Co. Mayo, F28 XF50, Éire

T+353 (0) 98 49888/ 086 859 5166

Scroll to Top