Mayo Dark Sky Festival – 2nd – 4th November 2018

Three unique days of events celebrating pristine night skies in Mayo

Mayo Dark Sky Festival 2017 Dark Sky in Mayo Stargazing in Mayo Astrotourism in Mayo Mulranny Co Mayo Newport Co Mayo Ballycroy National Park Nephin Wilderness Park Duncan Stewart Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain Astronomy in Mayo Wild Atlantic Way Mayo

In many parts of Mayo the night sky is still experienced as pristine and unfiltered due to low levels of man-made lighting.  The 2018 Mayo Dark Sky Festival will take place  from the 2nd to the 4th of November.  The towns of Newport, Mulranny and Ballycroy look forward to welcoming you back to Mayo for another great weekend of astronomy, science, culture, ecology and FUN!  The festival’s eclectic programme celebrates the natural nightscapes of Mayo with stargazing and observing sessions, cultural workshops, educational talks and activites for all the family to enjoy. Many events are free of charge

We will keep you updated in the coming weeks with the latest info on the 2018 program but for now have a look at what 2017 presented to wet your appetite. 

Mayo Dark Sky Festival 

27 October (7PM) – 29 October (5PM)

Locations: Newport, Mulranny, Ballycroy

A full programme of events is available here or at the bottom of this page.

Descriptions of each event may be consulted here.

TO    (booking in advance is strongly recommended)

For more information email

Online:  –  –

Speakers – Mayo Dark Sky Festival 2017

The Mayo Dark Sky Festival 2017 features a line-up of speakers from Ireland and abroad, who are highly regarded in their fields of expertise. Their words will help bring to life the magic of our natural dark skies and give an insight into how they are important from the point of view of science, culture and the environment.

Among the amazing group of speakers at this year’s event are Luis Flores Castillo, Susan McKenna Lawlor, Duncan Stewart, Deirdre Kelleghan, Michael Burton, Antonio Martin-Carillo, Aoibhinn Ní Shuilleabháin, Jon Bennie and others.

Luis Flores CastilloLuis Flores Castillo CERN Mayo Dark Sky Festival 2017 Mulranny Newport Ballycroy National Park Mayo Dark Sky Park

Physicist and researcher at CERN, Switzerland

Talk: ‘From the night sky to the Higgs boson – and back’

Dr. Luis Roberto Flores Castillo, professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, is a distinguished researcher who has participated in the ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus) experiment with CERN in Switzerland for over ten years. He is also recognized for his participation in the discovery of the Higgs Boson, often called “The God Particle”.

In 2012 he was acknowledged with the Scientific Research Prize by the Mexican Physical Society. His research interests include the measurement of the properties of the Higgs Boson, the search for dark matter particles, and searches for new high-mass particles.


Susan McKenna-Lawlor

Susan McKenna Lawlor CEO Space Technology Ireland Ltd Professor Emerita Maynooth Ireland Mayo Dark Sky Festival 2017 Newport Mulranny Ballycroy National ParkCEO of Space Technology Ireland Ltd. and Professor Emerita at Maynooth University

Talk: ‘What did we learn thus far from the Rosetta Mission and its Lander Philae’

Susan in the 1980s was the Principal Investigator for an experiment on the ESA’s Giotto mission to Halley’s comet.  She founded the high-tech company Space Technology Ireland Ltd. (STIL), which manufactures instruments and sub-systems for space applications.

Over the years, Space Tech. has successfully provided instrumentation for many flagship missions flown by ESA and NASA, as well as by the Chinese, Indian and Russian Space Agencies.  Most recently, STIL’s Electrical Support System (ESS) constituted mission critical hardware for ESA’s Rosetta Mission, forwarding commands to, and received pioneering data back from, the Philae Lander located on the surface of comet 67P/ Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

(photo: Beta Bajgar


Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain Mayo Dark Sky Festival 2017 Lecture, Newport Co Mayo 28 October 2017 A Career in Science Pristine Night Skies in MayoAoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain

Broadcaster and Academic

Talk: ‘A Career in Science’

At Mayo Dark Sky Festival 2017 Aoibhinn will discuss her career path and how the night sky in her home county of Mayo inspired her to pursue a degree in Theoretical Physics. She will also discuss her research work in mathematics education and highlight how parents and students can strengthen attitudes towards and confidence in their mathematical ability.

Aoibhinn is an Assistant Professor at the School of Mathematics and Statistics, University College Dublin (UCD). She studied Theoretical Physics in UCD and conducted her PhD research at Trinity College Dublin. She has actively promoted the subjects of mathematics and physics on TV, radio and social media. In 2017 has been named as one of the ’40 under 40′ European Young Leaders.


Duncan StewartDuncan Stewart Mayo Dark Sky Festival 2017 The Importance of Night Time Preservation Newport Mulranny Ballycroy National Park

Architect and Environmentalist

Talk: ‘The Importance of Night Time Preservation’

An award-winning architect and television producer, Duncan has been a leading Irish advocate for environmental, health and conservation issues for over 40 years.

His early shows ‘Our House’ and ‘About the House’ leaned on his architectural background as he promoted the values of craftsmanship, efficient and sustainable materials and the value of energy conservation.  Duncan’s current television programme ‘Eco Eye’, now in its sixteenth series, is driven by his interests in the protection of our environment, Ireland’s biodiversity, supporting local communities and the communication of climate issues.

And other amazing speakers

About Mayo Dark Sky Park

Ireland’s first International Dark Sky Park is in Co. Mayo. It showcases some of the darkest, most pristine skies in the world. The Mayo Dark Sky Park is nestled between the Nephin Mountain Range and the Atlantic coastline and it extends across an area of 150km2. It encompasses both Ballycroy National Park and Wild Nephin Park.

On a clear night in Mayo, we can see over 4,500 stars, along with other planets in our solar system, The Milky Way and even meteor showers with the naked eye. The Mayo Dark Sky Park has committed to keeping the skies above its location naturally dark for present and future generations to enjoy these wonders of the night sky.

For more information about Mayo Dark Sky Park call 086 8595166 or email

Online:  –  –

Mayo Dark Sky Festival 2017 – Programme of Events at a Glance

Mayo Dark Sky Festival 2017 Programme of Events at a Glance Newport Co Mayo Mulranny Co Mayo Ballycroy National Park Co Mayo Lectures Stargazing Workshops Activities Duncan Stewart Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain

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