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2023 Events in detail...

Opening Event - Music with Patrick Dexter

The Festival Opening Event takes place at 7pm on Friday 3 November 2023 in Ballycroy Visitor Centre. This event will include a drinks reception, followed by a short performance by cellist Patrick Dexter who returns to our Festival by popular demand. We will conclude the evening with some stargazing and a guided dark sky walk (weather permitting). This launch event has no entry fee, but we are obliged to charge a small registration fee of €2.

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Fri 3 November

Ballycroy Visitor Centre

19:00 (approx)

Understanding Telescopes

For those of us just starting on our journey of discovery, Derek will introduce us to the wonderful world of telescopes - the different kinds of telescopes, pros and cons of each, the best accessories for those new to stargazing - and much more besides! The talk will conclude with a look at some practical aspects of getting started in Astronomy and being out there under the night sky.

More details to follow

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Sat 4 November

Hotel Newport

10:00

Dark Sky Lighting workshop

This practical workshop will aim to convey how light pollution is caused by poor illumination. It will explore the important qualities of light along with key design considerations which lead to successful dark sky applications.

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Sat 4 November

Mulranny Arts Centre

11:00

Planetarium Shows

The StarDome, BCO's portable planetarium will be making an appearance once again at our Dark Sky Festival!
Shows will run Saturday (11am, 12 noon and 3pm) and Sunday (11am, 12 noon and 3pm) 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 suggest getting there early. If you do miss a show or it is full, you can always come back for the next one!

There is plenty of free parking at Newport National School.

Unfortunately the Dome is not wheelchair accessible

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Sat 4 & Sun 5 Nov

Newport National School

11:00 | 12:00 | 15:00

Could we soon become the alien species we once feared?

Advances in our ability to manipulate the fundamentals of the biology of life gives us the potential to construct whole new lifeforms which can be tailored to survive or even thrive in extreme environments. At the same time, steps towards propulsion systems which can, at least in principle, accelerate small payloads to significant fractions of the speed of light, offer the possibility of accessing thousands of worlds within a human lifetime. For the first time in the history of our species the conversation is on the verge of moving from "could we" to "should we".

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Sat 4 November

Hotel Newport

11:30

The Worlds within Ireland's Wild Island

Eoin will bring us on a journey of wonder through some of the natural worlds that he has experienced while making Irish wildlife documentaries. From mid-winter nights on uninhabited offshore islands to free diving in the underwater world off our coasts.

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Sat 4 November

Mulranny Arts Centre

12:00

Silk Puppet workshop followed by Puppet show

Experience how a piece of silk and 5 wooden balls come to life. The WORKSHOP lasts approx one hour and costs 10 euros per child. Places are strictly limited to 10 children, and all children must be accompanied by an adult (but don't worry, accompanying adults go free!)
Afterwards children can dance their own puppet on the stage at the PUPPET SHOW, along with the Miracle Puppets cast of characters, including Hans, Ann Caithlin, Little Hans, Hugo and Reinhard.

WORKSHOP places are strictly limited, PUPPET SHOW open to all and free

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Sat 4 November

Mulranny Arts Centre

13:30 (workshop) | 15:00 (show)

Guided Walks at Wild Nephin National Park

Michael will be your expert companion on the guided walks around Ballycroy Visitor Centre in Wild Nephone National Park on Saturday and Sunday
Meet at the Visitor Centre at 2pm on Saturday 4th November or Sunday 5th November

As a bonus...
At 12 noon on Saturday 4 November, Michael will give a short talk in the Visitor Centre about the bones discovered (by him!) in the Nephin Beg caves

At 13:00 on Sunday 5 November, Michael will also host an Introduction to stargazing especially aimed at children (a hands-on interactive event)

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Sat 4 & Sun 5 Nov

Ballycroy Visitor Centre, Wild Nephin National Park

14:00

Gravitational Waves and Supermassive Monsters

The Birth of a New Science: Gravitational-Wave Astronomy.

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Sat 4 November

Hotel Newport

14:30

Nocturnal Wildlife

An introduction to Ireland's nocturnal biodiversity, how our wildlife can be impacted by light pollution, and the positive steps we can take to protect the darkness.

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Sat 4 November

Ballycroy Visitor Centre

16:00

Live Event Illustration

A huge hit at our 2022 festival, Rae Jordan (nee Goddard) will be back in 2023, attending as many of the festival events as she possibly can, and making illustrations that try to capture the essence of Mayo Dark Sky Festival. You could meet her at any of our venues, so pop over and say hi!

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3, 4 & 5 November

Newport, Mulranny and Ballycroy

All weekend

Moonlight and Sunlight—shaping cultures through time

In this talk I will first ask a fundamental question—what is light? To answer, we will embark on a journey through time, thought and a range of disciplines with examples from art, science and archaeological monuments to illustrate the complexity and wonder of the phenomenon.

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Sat 4 November

Hotel Newport

16:00

Gala Dinner

The Festival's Gala Dinner takes place in the Mulranny Park Hotel on Saturday 4 November 2023. There will be a drinks reception at 7:30pm in the hotel, followed by a three course dinner 8pm, and entertainment by musical trio The Garibaldis.

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Sat 4 November

Mulranny Park Hotel

19:30

Understanding Telescopes

Following Saturday's talk by Derek Dempsey giving us a brief history of telescopes and introducing us to the different types of telescopes, their pros and cons etc, now you can enjoy a practical workshop delivered by Ireland's Premier Astronomy, Astrophotography and Telescope Shop - KTec Telescopes.

Founder and owner of KTec Telescopes Stephen Kershaw will give you practical advice that will make purchasing your first telescope (or upgrading your current one!) a lot easier

There is not a lot that Stephen doesn't know about telescopes, the best accessories, and camera attachments - so why not drop in and learn from the best!

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Sun 5 November

Hotel Newport

10:00

Aligning Music with the Stars - my journey into dark-sky multimedia

In this talk, flutist and photographer Teddie Hwang will take the public behind the scenes to talk about her processes in creating films featuring her own landscape astrophotography and 18th-century baroque flute music. With this unique juxtaposition of art forms, she will explain how the fascinating connections between early music and the night sky experience inspire her artistic output. The presentation will include screenings of her works.

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Sun 5 November

Mulranny Arts Centre

11:00

Space for Sustainability on Earth and beyond

Niamh sets sail in November to the Antarctic with 94 other Women in STEM on a 3.5 week mission for climate change. Capturing stories of her experiences of living on a boat in extreme weather conditions and witnessing first hand the devastation caused to the landscape at this southern pole region, Niamh wants to take us on a journey of re-discovery of our planet through her passion for space and storytelling.

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Sun 5 November

Hotel Newport

11:30

Why being kept in the dark is a good thing!

It is estimated that about 70 percent of mammals are nocturnal, living their lives under dark skies. Many species of bat, including all nine found in Ireland, have evolved echolocation to enable them to safely navigate, hunt and socialise after dark. But the rapid growth of artificial light in both urban and rural landscapes is negatively affecting bats. In my presentation I will explain why our bats are nocturnal, the problems caused by excessive lighting at night and some of the ways to prevent or mitigate these effects.

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Sun 5 November

Mulranny Arts Centre

12:00

I Want it Darker

Nina McGowan is a visual artist and professional freediver. Her work has focused on the human body, and considers it an instrument, a primary tool for understanding, mediating, and perceiving the world. Her work explores both its relationship to 'technology' and, more recently has been concerned with finding ways to map the impact of the climate crises onto it, turning the eco-overwhelm and disassociation that people report into something intimate, personal, and human-scale.
Her talk will cover her journey, from outer space to underwater, through her monumental science-fiction sculptures to her remarkable progress in a sport that asks you to encounter a world of 'life beyond breath, and body beyond species'. She will also talk about her new work located in the flux at the interface of land and sea.

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Sun 5 November

Mulranny Arts Centre

14:00

Seashore Safari

On this Seashore Safari you will explore the marine habitats at Mulranny Beach and learn
about the creatures that live there (weather permitting).

Meet your guide Conor Ryan at Mulranny Beach - time TBA as this event is tide dependent
PLEASE NOTE - children must be accompanied by an adult for the Seashore Safari

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Sun 5 November

Mulranny Beach

14:00

The Sun and the (Low Mass) Stars: Searching for Radio Flares and CMEs from M Dwarfs

M dwarfs are low mass stars less than half the mass of the Sun which make up over 70% of the stellar population. Many of these M dwarfs are highly convective rapid rotators, driving high levels of activity in the form of flares thousands of times larger than those observed on the Sun. Observing M dwarfs across the electromagnetic spectrum can provide a better understanding of their similarities and differences from the Sun, and how high levels of stellar activity may be impacting orbiting exoplanets. In particular, low frequency radio emission observations may provide evidence for stellar coronal mass ejections, which would be catastrophic for the habitability of exoplanets.
This talk will focus on the solar-stellar connection, trying to understand radio emission from these small red stars when compared to the Sun, and the relation between radio emission and bright optical flaring of these stars. Jeremy will also talk about Ireland's involvement in one of the largest radio telescope arrays in the world!

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Sun 5 November

Hotel Newport

14:30

Exo Planets - Habitability beyond our solar system

Habitability beyond our solar system What do we mean by 'habitability' and 'habitable'? How do we define it? Do we even know what 'habitable' looks like? What are the problems with determining whether something is habitable or not? Why are we looking in the places we are currently looking? Actually, are we even looking in the right places? I'll talk about the current scientific thoughts surrounding these fundamental questions, what is driving these thoughts, and why it's so difficult for an astrophysicist like myself to answer these questions.

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Sun 5 November

Hotel Newport

16:00

Lantern Walk and Music with Teddie Hwang and Yonit Kosovske

We close our 2023 festival with a flourish! Festival goers will take part in a Lantern Walk from Hotel Newport up to the iconic 100 year old St. Patricks Church, where renowned historical flutist Teddie Hwang will present “Discovering Light”, a concert of 18th-century music inspired by heavenly beings and the wonders of our night sky. Flutist and photographer Teddie Hwang has curated her own nightscape images for this program, which features landscape astrophotography from the spectacular dark skies of Europe and the USA. Together with harpsichordist Yonit Kosovske, the concert will be performed on copies of historical instruments and includes Teddie’s distinct narration about music and the night sky. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear the celestial sounds of the baroque flute and harpsichord, united by our timeless universe!

With works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Philipp Telemann, Jean-Henri d'Anglebert, and others

[This event is FREE for all festival ticket holders (so hold on to those tickets/wristbands!) All others €10]

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Sun 5 November

St Patricks Church Newport

18:30 (Walk) 19:00 (Concert)

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