Under Darkening Skies launched in Ballycroy

Artist of Under Darkening Skies at the Ballycroy Visitor Centre in Wild Nephin National Park. Photo: Sean Molloy

Artist of Under Darkening Skies at the Ballycroy Visitor Centre in Wild Nephin National Park. Photo: Sean Molloy

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS ) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage recently launched ‘Under Darkening Skies’ a public art commission by the visual artist Susan Mannion at the Ballycroy Visitor Centre at Wild Nephin National Park.

The artwork was commissioned by the Office of Public Works (OPW ) under the Percent for Art Scheme, in collaboration with the NPWS and Mayo County Council Arts Service, to mark the tenth anniversary of the Ballycroy Visitor Centre.

The artwork was officially launched by Sean Lysaght on June 21, where Denis Strong, NPWS Divisional Manager said: "The National Parks and Wildlife Service welcome the installation of this stunning art piece ‘Under Darkening Skies’ by Susan Mannion. It represents the wonder and beauty of our natural world and the importance of environmental education in its protection. This art will add to the immersive experience at the Visitor Centre and encourage visitors to look up and enjoy our ever-changing skies."

The two-stage open competition which saw Susan Mannion’s proposal selected was coordinated by Mayo County Council’s Arts Service in partnership with the OPW. Susan is a visual artist based in Boyle specialising in copper enamel work, a technique that has been used since the 13th century BC.

The artwork was created from enamelled steel and is comprised of seven panels that when combined measures seven metres in width and four metres in height. The steel panels were coated in base coats of black and then white enamel and fired to create a blank canvas onto which colour enamel powder was sifted. Twelve different colours of enamel were applied and then the panels were fired at 810 degrees in huge kilns. ‘Under Darkening Skies’ can be seen on the exterior wall on the

Ballycroy Visitor Centre, which is open to the public daily from 10am to 5.30 from mid-March to early November. Wild Nephin National Park was accredited Gold Tier dark sky place status by the International Dark Sky Association in 2016, with the Mayo Dark Sky Park being Ireland’s first Dark Sky Park.

For more information please contact the Ballycroy Visitor Centre via phone (098 ) 49888 or via email [email protected].

You can find out more information about Wild Nephin National Park and the Mayo Dark Sky Park at the following websites www.wildnephinnationalpark.ie and www.mayodarkskypark.ie


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