Kerry Dark Sky Reserve

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9 years 10 months ago #99893 by albertw
Kerry Dark Sky Reserve was created by albertw
Hopefully you all saw some of the media coverage of this yesterday! Below is from the Irish Independent. Myself and Terry were down there for the announcement and while the skies were mostly cloudy we did get some gaps and the skies easily go down below magnitude 6 NELM. Even the clouds were dark :)

Well done to Julie and everyone involved.

The application with plenty of detail is at darksky.org/assets/Night_Sky_Conservatio...y/Kerry_IDSR_app.pdf


It is one of the country's best-known tourist destinations but now the famed Ring of Kerry will become a visitor attraction after dark, too.

Southwest Kerry has been made an International Dark-Sky Gold Tier Reserve, the only place in the northern hemisphere to get the accreditation.

The announcement will be made by the Arizona-based International Dark-Sky Association today. It has also bestowed the accreditation on regions in Namibia and New Zealand.

Ireland's bid was headed by Julie Ormonde, of the South Kerry Astronomy Group, and supported by Kerry County Council and Failte Ireland.

A civic reception to mark the achievement and the recognition of the Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve will be hosted by county manager Tom Curran in Cahersiveen this evening.

"The only other time I ever felt such joy was when I found out I was pregnant for the first time and you feel like you're floating on air," revealed Ms Ormonde, who moved from Dublin to Waterville almost 18 years ago with her four children under the Rural Resettlement Scheme.

"When we made the application you'd always have it at the back of your mind that maybe this is mad and they'll send it back. But I could not believe that Kerry County Council and Failte Ireland are taking the whole thing so seriously and saw the potential of it."

The award has opened up "astro-tourism" to the southwest, which will be hoping to tap into a growing international market.

The nearest dark-sky reserves are in Wales, Scotland and France but so far Ireland is the only European country to have secured the coveted "gold tier" accreditation, which certifies it as one of the world's best sites to observe the Milky Way.

This is because of its geographical setting between the mountains and the Atlantic that block off the worst excesses of light pollution and offers astronomers the darkest skies to observe the firmament.


The Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve covers an area of approximately 700km sq that includes most of the Iveragh Peninsula taking in Kells, Cahersiveen, Valentia Island, Waterville, Portmagee, Caherdaniel and Ballinskelligs.

Over 1.5 million tourists pass through the Ring of Kerry each year but most don't stay.

"But come the night time and there's a whole new scenery so they're actually missing half of what the Ring of Kerry is all about," Ms Ormonde added.

"The whole idea of this is to get a percentage of those tourists to consider staying for at least one night."

The application process took 18 months and then, once submitted, had to be edited and tweaked to meet with the strict criteria demanded by the International Dark-Sky Association.

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section

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9 years 10 months ago #99894 by eansbro
Replied by eansbro on topic Kerry Dark Sky Reserve
Congratulations to Julie Ormonde and the team in the South Kerry Astronomy Group.
I used to live near Caherdaniel and I can vouch for that the dark skies are stunningly dark. I could get down to at least naked eye 7.2 magnitude on good seeing nights. I had a home built 11 inch Schmidt camera using 4 inch diameter film (days before CCDs) and I could get to about 18 magnitude within 5 minutes exposures.


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9 years 10 months ago #99898 by Keith g
Replied by Keith g on topic Kerry Dark Sky Reserve
A very hearty congratulations to South Kerry Astronomy group, you have done us all an immense favour!!

Keith. :rock:

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9 years 10 months ago #99913 by Seanie_Morris
Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Kerry Dark Sky Reserve
I have been to many parts of County Kerry over the years, with probably the two best places I have done observing in from Cahirdaniel and Valentia Island in Ireland. This is a huge achievement, and with Ireland bursting with astronomy lovers all over the Ireland, this will make it much easier to enjoy the hobby. It may be a far flung corner of the island for some of us, but it is a start, and I believe it didn't take long to achieve it either.

Well done to all involved!


Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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