Astronomy for Astro Tourists | The Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve

Astronomy for Astro Tourists - Seeing stars in Ireland

Have you ever dreamt of becoming an astro tourist? Then read on!

You may have been lucky enough to visit one of the world's great nature reserves such as the Seringetti or the Masai Mara in Africa or Yellowstone in America where you can closely observe wildlife, but did you know that there are reserves where you can go to observe our solar system?

The night skies above an area of South West Kerry have recently received official recognition from the US based International Dark-Sky Association who have designated this as a "Dark-Sky Gold Tier Reserve", one of only three in the world and the only place in the northern hemisphere to be granted such accreditation. So, by taking a trip to County Kerry you could be seeing stars in spectacular quantities. "The Milky Way" for example, invisible from most towns and cities is here clearly seen as a river of stars across the sky!

This area of Ireland long famed for it’s beautiful "Ring of Kerry" to which visitors from all over the world come, now takes pride in welcoming those who may also have a keen interest in astronomy but who live in built-up urban areas with huge amounts of artificial lighting which detract from perfect stargazing conditions.

"But wait" we hear you say, "it rains a lot in Ireland and it's rather cloudy there isn't it, not exactly the perfect conditions for observing the heavens?" Well, in answer let us quote Julia Ormond, Chair Person of "The Kerry Dark-Sky Reserve" who said recently, "In the year past we had 183 stargazing nights or three and a half nights per week, and remember that not all nights are cloudy all night long!"

Kerry County Council have now put in place plans to convert all public lighting in the county with a more energy efficient Dark Sky compliant lighting system.

If you are contemplating a holiday visit to Kerry and if you have a keen interest in stargazing, may we suggest that you consider our accommodation as part of your holiday, Halpin's Self-Catering at where you will find details of our luxury six bedroom holiday rental home in Listowel which would be a great location from which to base yourself to take advantage of Kerry's great sights and amenities before travelling in to the Dark-Sky Reserve area of the Iveragh Peninsula for our spectacular skies.

For further information on the Dark-Sky Reserve, visit