The stars are aligned for astronomers, astro-photographers, astro-physicists, stargazers, and rocket makers to visit Newport over the Bank holiday weekend, October 28 to 30. The town is set to host the first Mayo Dark Sky Festival and it promises to be a weekend of discovery and enlightenment for everyone.
Mayo is now internationally recognised as one of the best places in the world to view the wonders of the night, following a gold tier accreditation from the International Dark-Sky Association earlier this year.
The Mayo Dark Sky Festival programme which is called 'Our Place in the Cosmos,’ features many highly regarded expert speakers in the fields of space, astronomy, and science as well as night-time observations in nearby Mayo International Dark Sky Park. In addition to events for the serious astronomer, the organisers have designed a family friendly schedule to include a mobile planetarium, rocket-making workshops, and evening stargazing sessions at Burrishoole Abbey.
Veteran journalist and broadcaster Leo Enright will officially open the festival on Friday evening, October 28. Dr Norah Patten of the International Space University, who is also speaking over the weekend, says: "As a Mayo native, I think The Mayo Dark Sky Festival is a brilliant way to showcase the recent International Dark-Sky Park award and to really engage the community. The programme offers fun and educational activities and workshops for people of all ages. Space has, for many years, proved to be a very exciting area to inspire and motivate people all across the globe - and where better to start than in our local community."
With such a packed programme of events spanning the three days, there is most definitely something for everyone. Pre-registration online at www.mayodarkyfestival.wordpress.com Ticket prices range from €5 to €45 (including three course dinner ), while many events are free of charge. For more information contact organisers Ronan Newman or Fiona Hopkins by email at [email protected].