27-29 October 2017

 Below you will find more detail on EVERY EVENT taking place over the festival weekend... 

Mailing list

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ALL events...

 

NEWPORT - Festival Launch

27 Oct 2017 | 7pm Hotel Newport

* FREE - Booking advised

The Official opening will start with a drinks reception 7pm

Duncan will perform the official opening at 7:30pm

* This event is Free - booking advised as space is limited

NEWPORT - Guided Walk to Burrishoole Abbey

27 Oct 2017 | 9pm from Hotel Newport

FREE - no pre-booking necessary

Guided Walk to Burrishoole Abbey for Stargazing

Meet 9pm outside Hotel Newport to meet your guide Christy Loftus who will lead the group on a torchlit walk (2.5km) to our observing site at Burrishoole Abbey.  Stargazing commences 9:30pm

(There is parking at Burrishoole Abbey for those who prefer to drive!)

FREE - no pre-booking required

Stargazing at Burrishoole Abbey

Observing at Burrishoole Abbey is a family friendly event and all are welcome.

This session will include a laser-pointer guided tour of the night sky and then move on to view items of interest through telescopes. 

Please use your common sense and best endeavours to minimise white light (particularly full headlights) without jeopardising your own or anybody else's safety.

Dress warmly, bring an extra layer and consider that you may also need to bring insect repellent.

with thanks to Steve Hanley for his photo of Burrishoole Abbey

NEWPORT - Registration and Ticket Sales

28 Oct 2017 | 9am Hotel Newport

€5 per talk with special bundled prices for Saturday and Sunday Newport talks

Registration and Ticket Desk will be open in Hotel Newport from 9am

Talks start 10am

Pre-paid ticket holders do not need to register but can pick up a festival programme if they wish

(Please bring your booking confirmation!)

MULRANNY - Registration and Ticket Sales

28 Oct 2017 | 9am Mulranny National School

€5 per talk with special bundled price for all Mulranny talks Saturday

Registration and Ticket Desk will be open in Mulranny National School from 9am

Talks start 10am

Pre-paid ticket holders do not need to register but can pick up a festival programme if they wish

(Please bring your booking confirmation!)

NEWPORT - TALK: Mathematics Education by Aoibhinn ní Shúilleabháin

28 Oct 2017 | 10am Hotel Newport

€5* + booking fee

In this talk, Aoibhinn will discuss her own career trajectory and how the night sky in Mayo inspired her to pursue a degree in Theoretical Physics. Aoibhinn will also discuss her research work in mathematics education and highlight how parents and students can strengthen their attitudes towards and confidence in their mathematical ability. ​

* All talks €5 individually but there are SPECIAL BUNDLE PRICES for Newport talks - check the ticket website!

MULRANNY - TALK: The effect of light pollution on moths and pollination by Callum Macgregor

28 Oct 2017 | 10am Mulranny National School

€5* + booking fee

Many people think of moths as pests of wardrobes and cabbage patches, but Callum will introduce the idea that they are important pollinators. He will then outline what we understand about the effects of light pollution on moths and their interactions with plants, including some discussion of what steps we can take to reduce our impact upon our night-time environment.

* All talks €5 individually but there is a SPECIAL BUNDLE PRICE for Mulranny's Saturday talks - check the ticket website!

MULRANNY - Planet Zebunar Childrens Workshop with Norah Patten

28 Oct 2017 | 10:30am Mulranny National School (2 hours)

* FREE - pre-booking required as places limited

Zebunar scientists have discovered that their planet is in great danger! It is now up to the children of Planet Zebunar to work together and find a solution to save their home planet. 

This interactive workshop will engage the next generation of innovators, here on planet Earth, through hands-on activities including mission patch design and character development and will draw on their imagination to get them excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

 

Suitable for children aged 6-12 years. 

* While this workshop is FREE spaces are limited to 15 so pre-booking is required

BALLYCROY - Workshop: a drawing workshop with Deirdre Kelleghan and Pauline McSorley

28 Oct 2017 | 11am Ballycroy National Park Visitor Centre

* FREE - pre-booking required as places limited

Part 1 - Deirdre Kelleghan - Spectacular Cassini at Saturn

A new STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Maths) workshop exploring the astonishing images of the planet Saturn and its moons through the cameras on the Cassini spacecraft. Each group will draw a different image from the mission and learn about it in detail by this action . This is one of the greatest exploration missions of our time . This workshop honours both the images and the discoveries of Cassini via drawing .

 

Launched in 1997 - Cassini has been in orbit around Saturn since 2004. In September 2017 the mission will come to a dramatic finale. The very latest amazing images will be showcased .

All materials provided - Duration 1 hour - Ideal for families

 

This workshop supports STEAM subjects in the National curriculum.  Educational materials provided by NASA and ESA will be given to all attending.

Part 2 - Pauline McSorley

Artist Pauline will share a short philosophical story, about finding one's place in life and the art of perspective and connection - inspired by space. She will display some of her gorgeous illustrative pieces. 

NEWPORT - TALK: Ireland and the birth of Astrophysics by Professor Michael Burton

28 Oct 2017 | 11:30am Hotel Newport

€5* + booking fee

Astronomy turned into astrophysics during the second half of the nineteenth century, as the careful measurements being made by astronomers of the positions of stars in the sky led slowly to the first glimmers of understanding about their nature and our true place in the cosmos. Ireland played an important role in this international endeavour, through the work done at the great observatories in Armagh, Birr and Dunsink, and the interactions between their astronomers. 

Key contributions include the precise measurement of the positions of the stars recorded in the "Armagh Places of 5,345 Stars" by Armagh Director Romney Robinson, the comprehensive cataloguing of nebulae undertaken by his successor John Emil Dreyer in the "New General Catalogue”, and the first detailed images of many objects therein made by the Third Earl of Rosse with the Leviathan at Birr (the largest telescope in the world for 72 years), such as the Whirlpool and Crab Nebulae.

Today, the historic Armagh-Birr-Dublin connection is being revived through the construction of I-LOFAR at Birr, nearby to the Leviathan – a radio telescope that will be connected into a European network – by an Ireland-wide consortium of astronomers being led from Trinity College Dublin.

* All talks €5 individually but there are SPECIAL BUNDLE PRICES for Newport talks - check the ticket website!

MULRANNY - TALK: Salmon and Eels: throwing light on their dark secrets! by the Marine Institute

28 Oct 2017 | 11:30am Mulranny NS

€5* + booking fee

The Burrishoole catchment in Newport has hosted long-term ecological monitoring of salmon, trout and eels since the 1960s with a more recent interest in environmental quality and changing climate.  This light-hearted talk, suitable for all ages, will touch on this research and will make links between aspects of fish behaviour and both artificial and natural light levels.

The talk will be given by Dr. Russell Poole of the Marine Institute.

* All talks €5 individually but there is a SPECIAL BUNDLE PRICE for Mulranny's Saturday talks - check the ticket website!

MULRANNY - Planetarium Show

28 Oct 2017 | 1:30pm Mulranny Amenity Centre

FREE - Booking advised

The StarDome, BCO's portable planetarium will be making an appearance at our Dark Sky Festival!

Shows will run Saturday (1:30pm, 2pm and 2:30pm) and Sunday (11am and 11:30am) and will give you and your family the chance to discover the wonders of the night sky in their inflatable dome.

Each show lasts 20 minutes and is FREE.  With a limited capacity of 25 people per session, we strongly advise booking your place online

Unfortunately the Dome is not wheelchair accessible

NEWPORT - TALK: Why things are the way they are - Science in Astrophotography by Antonio Martin-Carrillo

28 Oct 2017 | 2pm Hotel Newport

€5* + booking fee

Astronomers constantly use astonishing images of different celestial objects to capture peoples' imaginations and bring astronomy closer to the general public. However, it is quite common that those images are presented showing just the name of the source and with no additional information regarding their nature. Why do scientists care about these images? Is it just to show people something pretty? Do they have some scientific value? These are questions that I asked myself when I was young and that every year my first year students ask me.

 

In this talk, I will use three different cases of really beautiful astronomy images to answer those questions. The goal of this talk is that later at home, whenever you find any astronomy related photograph, you will be able to understand why it looks the way it does and what it means.

* All talks €5 individually but there are SPECIAL BUNDLE PRICES for Newport talks - check the ticket website!

MULRANNY - TALK: Light pollution and the living world by Jon Bennie

28 Oct 2017 | 2pm Mulranny National School

€5* + booking fee

Light pollution and the living world: uncovering the ecological consequences of increasing artificial light at night.

 

Light is critical to the living world.  Not only is sunlight the source of energy for all plant life, but natural cycles of light and darkness provide other roles too: animals and plants use the changes in light as both a clock and a calendar. At night moonlight and starlight provide signals for navigation for animals as diverse as migrating birds and dung beetles.  The dawn chorus and timing of bats leaving their roosts are triggered by subtle changes in twilight.  Variation in the wavelengths of daylight provide information about the surrounding environment for woodland plants and shellfish larvae.  The specialised evolution of vision has provided animals with thousands of different ways of seeing the world.  However, as we increasingly illuminate our towns, cities and countryside with electric light at night, we risk disrupting these natural processes, with effects that can span several levels of food webs and have implications for biodiversity and conservation.

 

This talk will explain how recent research shows some surprising ways in which the living world is affected by light pollution, and highlight the importance of preserving our nocturnal environment for nature.

* All talks €5 individually but there is a SPECIAL BUNDLE PRICE for Mulranny's Saturday talks - check the ticket website!

MULRANNY - Planetarium Show

28 Oct 2017 | 2pm Mulranny Amenity Centre

FREE - Booking advised

The StarDome, BCO's portable planetarium will be making an appearance at our Dark Sky Festival!

Shows will run Saturday (1:30pm, 2pm and 2:30pm) and Sunday (11am and 11:30am) and will give you and your family the chance to discover the wonders of the night sky in their inflatable dome.

Each show lasts 20 minutes and is FREE.  With a limited capacity of 25 people per session, we strongly advise booking your place online

Unfortunately the Dome is not wheelchair accessible

BALLYCROY - Workshop: Action Comet - a drawing workshop with Deirdre Kelleghan

28 Oct 2017 | 2pm Ballycroy National Park Visitor Centre

FREE* - pre-booking required as spaces limited

Action Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko is a workshop during which the participants learn about the European Space Agency's Rosetta Mission to a comet called 67/P CG. During the workshop everyone learns about this comet by drawing it and also making little comet models for themselves. This is a kinaesthetic learning activity, using paper and polystyrene balls. We will look at comets in general, comets have nuclei, comas, dust and gas tails, these are common to all comets. An emphasis on Irish science involvement with the mission is included. It's fun, it's busy, it's realistic, and learning takes place.

All materials provided

European Space Agency Educational material provided

Duration 1 hour

* Workshop is FREE but you must reserve a place via our ticketing website.

MULRANNY - Planetarium Show

28 Oct 2017 | 2:30pm Mulranny Amenity Centre

FREE - Booking advised

The StarDome, BCO's portable planetarium will be making an appearance at our Dark Sky Festival!

Shows will run Saturday (1:30pm, 2pm and 2:30pm) and Sunday (11am and 11:30am) and will give you and your family the chance to discover the wonders of the night sky in their inflatable dome.

Each show lasts 20 minutes and is FREE.  With a limited capacity of 25 people per session, we strongly advise booking your place online

Unfortunately the Dome is not wheelchair accessible

NEWPORT - TALK: What did we learn thus far from the Rosetta Mission and its Lander Philae by Susan McKenna Lawlor

28 Oct 2017 | 3pm Hotel Newport

€5* + booking fee

This talk presents an account of ESA’s Rosetta Mission, which was the first spacecraft to accompany a comet (67P/Churyumov-Gerassimenko) along part of its orbit about the Sun - including passing through perihelion.

It also was the first to deploy a Lander (Philae) onto a cometary nucleus. Pioneering observations made by instrumentation aboard Rosetta and Philae are described and what we have learned thus far from them is outlined.

* All talks €5 individually but there are SPECIAL BUNDLE PRICES for Newport talks - check the ticket website!

MULRANNY - TALK: The Importance of Night-time preservation by Duncan Stewart

28 Oct 2017 | 3:15pm Mulranny Church

€5* + booking fee

Dark Sky zones (i.e. those with very low or no light pollution) are very rare and unique in Ireland and across Europe. 

Zones designated as achieving very low levels of light pollution usually align with areas of true tranquility and pure silence, where sounds of nature are crisply received by our hearing. Where, typically, these wild areas offer very clean healthy air and freshwater quality and are areas rich in native biodiversity, wildlife and the closest in Ireland we can get to a genuine wilderness! 


Also, a place to observe the stars and the universe, a place to reach out across our skies at night, to observe and reflect on its endless time and space and its true mystery. A magic place for astronomers! 

Mayo and Ballycroy National Park/Wild Nephin is a unique destination for attracting tourism. The undisturbed darkness that protects the circadian rhymes of wild species, conditions where humans had evolved over thousands of years and can rediscover this rare quality of true tranquility and serenity and peace.

* All talks €5 individually but there is a SPECIAL BUNDLE PRICE for Mulranny's Saturday talks - check the ticket website!

NOTE - Saturday talks in Mulranny will be hosted by Professor Brian Espey of Trinity College Dublin, who will moderate a panel discussion in Mulranny Church after Duncan's presentation with all of the day's speakers in attendance, giving you a chance to ask all your questions!

MULRANNY - Gala dinner

28 Oct 2017 | 7pm GN Mulranny Park Hotel

€30 + booking fee

Friends of Mayo Dark Skies invites you to a Gala dinner celebrating our festival, our amazing speakers and of course our Mayo Dark Sky Park!

3 course dinner (exc wine) €30

For those wishing to celebrate 'Observe the Moon Night' in Burrishoole Abbey, there will be a free shuttle bus from the hotel to the observing site, leaving 9pm SHARP

FREE - no pre-booking required

Moongazing at Burrishoole Abbey

 

Observing at Burrishoole Abbey is a family friendly event and all are welcome.

This session will include a laser-pointer guided tour of the night sky and then move on to view items of interest through telescopes.  October 28th is International Observe the Moon Night (a worldwide, public celebration of lunar science and exploration held annually since 2010).

One day each year, everyone on Earth is invited to observe and learn about the moon together, and to celebrate the cultural and personal connections we all have with Earth¹s nearest neighbour.

Please use your common sense and best endeavours to minimise white light (particularly full headlights) without jeopardising your own or anybody else's safety.

Dress warmly, bring an extra layer and consider that you may also need to bring insect repellent.

NEWPORT - Registration and Ticket Sales

29 Oct 2017 | 9am Hotel Newport

€5 per talk with special bundled prices for Saturday and Sunday Newport talks

Registration and Ticket Desk will be open in Hotel Newport from 9am

Talks start 10am

Pre-paid ticket holders do not need to register but can pick up a festival programme if they wish

(Please bring your booking confirmation!)

MULRANNY - Registration and Ticket Sales

29 Oct 2017 | 9am GN Mulranny Park Hotel - Granuaile Suite

€5 per talk - Planetarium Shows FREE

Registration and Ticket Desk will be open in the Granuaile Suite of the GN Park Hotel Mulranny from 9am

Talks start 10am

Pre-paid ticket holders do not need to register but can pick up a festival programme if they wish

(Please bring your booking confirmation!)

NEWPORT - Space Workshop with Science Ireland

29 Oct 2017 | 10am Newport National School

FREE* - pre-booking required as spaces limited

Declan Holmes of Science Ireland will run a BRAND NEW Space Workshop for families.

The Space Workshop allows students to explore the universe by taking a tour of space & looking at what would happen if the sun was half its size or if the moon didn't exist. This exciting workshop will explore the scale of the universe and allow for a discussion on how amazing it is that humans exist in this harsh universe.

* Workshop is FREE but you must reserve a place via our ticketing website.

All children must be accompanied by an adult

NEWPORT - TALK: Measuring the Heavens with Derek Dempsey

29 Oct 2017 | 10am Hotel Newport

€5* + booking fee

"Measuring the Heavens" tells the story of how, in 1716, the astronomer Edmond Halley (he of comet fame) predicted that the planet Venus would transit the face of the Sun in 1761 and again in 1769.  He knew it was unlikely that he would be alive to see these events himself (unless he lived to be 104!) but showed how accurate timings of the transit from locations sufficiently far apart on the globe could be used to calculate the distance from the Earth to the Sun - he was challenging the scientific world to mount the first truly global project. 

To make these measurements, astronomers would leave their observatories and undertake difficult and dangerous journeys into a war-torn world ...

* All talks €5 individually but there are SPECIAL BUNDLE PRICES for Newport talks - check the ticket website!

MULRANNY - TALK: Introduction to Astronomy with Clair McSweeney of Blackrock Castle Observatory

29 Oct 2017 | 10am GN Mulranny Park Hotel - Granuaile Suite

€5* + booking fee per adult

Clair McSweeney of BCO (Blackrock Castle Observatory) Cork will give a comprehensive but easy to understand introduction to the amazing world of astronomy.

This talk is ideal for families and anyone eager to learn a little bit more about our night skies.

No previous knowledge required or expected - just bring your curiosity!

* Tickets for talks €5 per adult - Adults may bring UP TO 2 CHILDREN FREE! (under 16).  Additional children €5

FREE - no pre-booking required

Enjoy a guided walk of the Solar Walk at Bellacragher Boat Club, where Seamus Butler has developed a walk that matches in scale our solar system, helping you appreciate the relative distances between the planets and the distances from those planets to the sun.

According to Seamus "the inspiration behind it was doing the Dark Sky Ambassador course in Ballycroy in January,  I couldn't get my head around the distances in space and someone mentioned a solar system walk to scale, I investigated a little and thought it was something I could do that may interest others and help them get a practical feel of the size of the solar system and our place in it!" 

Fresh air, spectacular views and a bit of astronomy - what more could you ask for!

This event is FREE - no booking necessary

MULRANNY - Planetarium Show

29 Oct 2017 | 11am Mulranny Amenity Centre

FREE - Booking advised

The StarDome, BCO's portable planetarium will be making an appearance at our Dark Sky Festival!

Shows will run Saturday (1:30pm, 2pm and 2:30pm) and Sunday 11am and 11:30am) and will give you and your family the chance to discover the wonders of the night sky in their inflatable dome.

Each show lasts 20 minutes and is FREE.  With a limited capacity of 25 people per session, we strongly advise booking your place online

Unfortunately the Dome is not wheelchair accessible

BALLYCROY - TALK: The Cultural Importance and Meaning of Dark Sky with Dr. Frank Prendergast

29 Oct 2017 | 11am Ballycroy National Park Vistor Centre

* FREE - pre-booking required as places limited

Light pollution degrades our ability to resolve faint stars. Where prevalent, it reduces the drama and impact of the night sky – even in the darkest months of the year.  Worryingly, recent research shows a 20% increase in light levels in Ireland since the early 1990s. More widely, it is estimated that about 60% of the European population cannot now observe the starry sky as a result of light pollution.

 

This talk will focus on archaeological landscapes of importance and examine light pollution at or near such sites across Ireland using space-based light-at-night infrared imagery. The likely role and meaning of ‘dark sky’ to our prehistoric ancestors will be discussed and the key question ‘are the skies above archaeological landscapes as important as the monuments themselves?’ explored.

BALLYCROY - LAUNCH: Night Sky over Ballycroy - A Collaborative Project

29 Oct 2017 | 12:00 noon Ballycroy National Park Visitor Centre

FREE - No pre-booking necessary

Dr Frank Prendergast of Dublin Institute of Technology will launch a collaborative project that he has been working on as a special commission for the Mayo Dark Sky Park.  This is a digital virtual experience of the magnificent night sky in Ballycroy, which can be viewed on free software from your computer.

Dr Prendergast has surveyed and created a landscape file, which situates you at the viewing point above the National Park Visitor Centre. Real horizons are seen on the screen and, for the first time, the changing skyscapes throughout the year can be experienced and studied.

Dr Prendergast will explain how this free tool can provide an incredibly powerful educational tool to learn practical astronomy. 

All files and software needed will be made available on www.MayoDarkSkyPark.ie after the festival. 

BALLYCROY - Parent and Child Model Rocket Workshop with Eric Stenzel of Irish Rocketry Society

29 Oct 2017 | 11am Ballycroy Community Centre

€20 per parent and child team + booking fee

Rocket Building workshop with Eric Stenzel of the Irish Rocketry Society. This workshop is aimed at Parents and children (age 9 - 16)  who will work in pairs to build their very own rocket, which will be launched at the local community pitch at 2pm


Ticket price €20 per pair - pre-booking essential as places strictly limited

NEWPORT - TALK: The Harvard Computers with Emer O Boyle

29 Oct 2017 | 11:30am Hotel Newport

€5* + booking fee

Edward Charles Pickering was the director of the Harvard Observatory from 1877 to 1919.

Pickering was increasingly frustrated with his male assistants (he would declare that even his maid could do a better job) and made the decision to hire women as skilled workers to process astronomical data.   He was proved correct  -  the women applied themselves to the work efficiently and diligently.  Another factor in his thinking was that men were paid much more than women at the time, so he could employ more staff with the same budget.  This was relevant in a time when the amount of astronomical data was surpassing the capacity of the observatory to process it.

As a result of the work of the women "computers", Pickering published the first Henry Draper Catalog  in 1890 - more than 10,000 stars classified according to their spectra.  And while the Harvard computers were hired solely to manually process astronomical data, they would go far beyond this, using the data to discover some of the most important principles in modern astronomy ...

Emer O Boyle will tell the fascinating story about these 'Harvard Computers' and will also talk about observations made with the Watcher telescope in South Africa of asteroids named in their honour; using these and other imagery from telescopes in her art practice.

* All talks €5 individually but there are SPECIAL BUNDLE PRICES for Newport talks - check the ticket website!

MULRANNY - Planetarium Show

29 Oct 2017 | 11:30am Mulranny Amenity Centre

FREE - Booking advised

The StarDome, BCO's portable planetarium will be making an appearance at our Dark Sky Festival!

Shows will run Saturday (1:30pm, 2pm and 2:30pm) and Sunday (11am and 11:30am) and will give you and your family the chance to discover the wonders of the night sky in their inflatable dome.

Each show lasts 20 minutes and is FREE.  With a limited capacity of 25 people per session, we strongly advise booking your place online.

Unfortunately the Dome is not wheelchair accessible