Mayo is one of the western world’s top star-gazing locations and Hotel Newport, situated at the gateway to the International Dark Sky Park, has amazing packages for out of this world holidays. With Moonlight tours, access to observation sites, astronomy talks and astrophotography workshops, our packages are tailor made according to the level of expertise in astronomy or designed to suit amateurs with a keen interest in an opportunity to view stunning nightscapes.
Ballycroy National Park and Wild Nephin Wilderness are jointly recognized as Mayo International Dark Sky Park. A Gold tier classification is an honor reserved for the most exceptional of dark skies and stunning nightscapes. The park protects one of the largest expanses of peatland in Europe and supports a diversity of species in a unique habitat; it is especially important in this regard as it is
one of the largest remaining examples of a blanket bog habitat remaining in Western Europe.
This is the perfect site to explore the darkest skies in Europe and it is the ideal place for anyone wanting to appreciate the wonders of the universe, with over 7,000 stars and planets visible to the naked eye.
Our ancestors looked up into the pure dark night skies in wonder, inspired by its magnificence and mysteries. They used it for navigation, agriculture, worship, philosophy, literature, art and of course early scientific discoveries. Now you can take a break away to the west of Ireland to discover what they used to see!
Five Stargazing Tips
Photo Credits to Brian Wilson and Steve Hanley
- Head for the dark – stars are shy; the darker it is, the more the stars will come out
- Adjust your eyes – you’ll see 10 times more stars 20 minutes after switching off your torch
- Take binoculars – you can see plenty with the naked eye, but a small pair of binoculars will take you to the next level
- Use an app – try Google Sky Maps which will tell you exactly what you are seeing in the sky
- Wrap up – Irish winter nights are not for the feint-hearted. Layers upon layers and a good pair of gloves are essential, along with hot drinks.