Dark Sky project aims to attract stargazers

Ballycroy looks set to be officially named as one of darkest spots in Ireland in a bid to attract stargazers to the national park there.

Denis Strong, divisional manager with the National Parks and Wildlife Services, said Ballycroy National Park is working with GMIT on the project and is very close to achieving 'Dark Sky' status, an international rating which means the area is relatively free from light pollution and a perfect spot to take in the wonders of the nighttime sky.

There is only one other Dark Sky designated area in Ireland, which is located on the Iveragh Peninsula in Co Kerry, and only a handful in the UK.

Mr Strong was addressing a meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District in Ballycroy National Park visitor centre on Monday afternoon.

He said six meters were installed in the area to monitor light pollution and the readings so far are very promising.

"We are now making plans to put in a telescope viewing area which will add another string to our bow here in the national park," said Mr Strong.

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