For Tourism and Hospitality Trade in County Mayo
Leading astronomers from Blackrock Castle Observatory will be in Westport and Ballycroy to provide two half day workshops on 1st and 2nd March to tourism and hospitality businesses in the area.
With a choice of workshop:
1st March – 2pm in Ballycroy
2nd March – 10am in Westport
Mayo is home to Ireland’s only Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park. With easy access sites from the Clew Bay and the Wild Atlantic Way, this visitor attraction has caught the imagination of an international audience and since its accreditation in 2016 has developed a growing interest from the dark sky tourism (astrotourism) market.
The future is “bright” as plans are underway for the development of a world class planetarium and observatory within Mayo Dark Sky Park (covering the expanse of Wild Nephin National Park).
One of the existing attractions for visitors is the chance to stargaze and experience naturally dark skies and night sky phenomena such as the milky way, meteor showers and other celestial objects that are only accessible in dark sky locations, free from light pollution.
Most of the visitors to our region are coming during the peak tourist season of March to September but the best time for visitors to experience Mayo Dark Sky Park is generally during the off-season. This offers an extension to the tourism season for local businesses and new opportunities in sustainable tourism.
Year on year we are getting more and more visitors enquiring about the best time to see our wonderfully dark skies.
The workshops will include a basic introduction to stargazing and resources for tourism partners so those in the trade know what the Dark Sky Park is and what visitors can expect to see.
The workshop is designed to build confidence amongst participants who have to deal with the general public, but who themselves are not experts in the night sky. The workshops will also discuss innovations in dark sky tourism and foster new ideas for businesses to get involved in the dark sky initiative.
The workshop aims to produce Dark Sky Champions who can encourage visitors to come back in the evening (or in winter months) and therefore to stay longer in the area (returning to the area during off peak to experience the best of the dark skies).