2022 Skellig Coast Dark Sky Festival
The inaugural Dark Sky Festival took place across the Iveragh peninsula
from the 3rd to 6th of March 2022
Our goal of the inaugural festival was to promote the unique landscape of the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve, to encourage ownership and pride from locals in its maintenance and development, as well as promoting it as a unique destination of natural and cultural heritage.
Astronomy talks, stargazing sessions, puppet shows, walks, astro-archaeology, and more: this dark sky themed festival was an opportunity to share the delights of stargazing and astronomy as a fun off-season activity for locals and visitors alike.
The festival takes place in the core and buffer zones of the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve, one of only 3 Gold Tiered Reserves in the world, and the only one in the northern hemisphere.
The 2023 festival takes place from the 24th - 26th of March, you can find out more here
Below are events and activities that took place in the 2022 Festival, including a detailed report.
PRE-FESTIVAL EVENT - Online Talk
Thurs 3rd March | 8pm - 9pm
Join the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve Monthly Talk!
Kerry Dark Sky Tourism and the LIVE Project have partnered with John Flannery of the Irish Astronomical Society and special guests, to present a monthly stargazing guide for residents and visitors to the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve. Join this festival special online.
Astronomy in the Classroom
Friday 4th March | Various Schools
Caoimhin de Bhailís from the Blackrock Observatory will be visiting Gaeltacht schools organised in conjunction with Brí Uíbh Ráthaigh - South Kerry Language Plan, for a workshops on astronomy and the Kerry dark skies.
Sponsored by Comhchoiste Ghaeltacht Uíbh Ráthaigh, part of Seachtain na Gaeilge.
Astroarchaeology Walk - Doory
Friday 4th March | 2pm - 5pm
Join Aoibheann Lambe from the LIVE Project for an astoarchaeology walk to visit Iveragh’s highest standing stone as well as a stone row which is aligned on the lunar standstill, a celestial event that occurs only every 18 years. Enjoy the spectacular views overlooking Ballinskelligs Bay and the river Inny.
Supported by Heritage Iveragh.
Rock Art by Night - Caherdaniel
Friday 4th March | 8pm - 9pm
Of all of Ireland’s archaeology, megalithic-era open-air rock art is the most enigmatic and mysterious. Join Aoibheann Lambe to see this monumental example of rock art at its best - by night, by torchlight!
Supported by Heritage Iveragh.
Pop Up Gaeltacht - Cahersiveen
Friday 4th March | 9pm
Come along and try your cúpla focal at an Oíche Ghaelach/Pop Up Gaeltacht le Ceol Traidisiúntain in the Fertha Bar i gCathair Saidhbhín/Cahersiveen and celebrate Seachtain na Gaeilge!
Supported by Cathair Saidhbhín le Gaeilge
Sunrise Yoga - Ballinskelligs Beach
Saturday 5th March | 7am - 8am
Join Shannah Gordon for some guided sunrise yoga on Ballinskelligs beach. Taking inspiration from the dark skies and the rising sun, linking movement with breath and connecting to yourself and each other in this outdoor meditative practice - giving thanks to this incredible place that we get to call home.
Community Beach Clean - Ballinskelligs
Saturday 5th March | 10am - 11am
Join the Ballinskelligs Environmental Action Group (BEAG) for a community beach clean of Ballinskelligs Beach. Come along with gloves and join in to make Ballinskelligs beach a safe and beautiful place for everyone. Bags will be provided.
Scáthphuipéid Puipéid Solais - Ballinskelligs
Saturday 5th March | 11.30am - 1.30pm
Join Sean O'Laoghaire for a family fun event, to learn about stars, skies and stories as Gaeilge. Learn how to create shadow puppets and perform your own show using the words and phrases you have learned! Suitable for family groups containing 2 – 5 participants. All children must be accompanied by an adult or guardian. Supported by Comhchoiste Uíbh Ráthaigh and Cafe Cois Trá
Astronomy Talk as Gaeilge - Ballinskelligs
Saturday 5th March | 2pm - 3pm
Join Caoimhín de Bhailís from Blackrock Observatory in Halla Pobail Dungeagan for this astronomy talk as Gaeilge. Focusing on easily recognizable constellations and planets, Caoimhín will talk you through what you can see in our Kerry dark skies.
Supported by Brí Uíbh Ráthaigh & Comhchoiste Uíbh Ráthaigh
A Beginners Guide to Astrophotograhy - Cahersiveen
Saturday 5th March | 3pm - 4.30pm
Join Michael Sheehan and Aoibheann Lamb of the Caherdaniel Dark Sky Group for an introduction to astrophotography at the Skellig Six 18 Distillery. This workshop is suited to amateur photographers who have an interest in learning about DSLR settings and techniques to capture great dark sky shots.
Supported by Skellig Six 18 Distillery
Boat tours with Kerry Aquaterra
Saturday 5th March | 2.30pm
Explore the Ring of Kerry’s stunning landscape and coastline through Kerry Aqua Terra’s Adventure by Land & Sea custom-built, wheelchair-accessible passenger boat for a memorable tour experience on the Skellig Coast.
Book directly with Kerry Aquaterra - tours also take place on Sunday
Nocturnal Wildlife Guide - Valentia
Saturday 5th March | 7pm - 8pm
Lots of the wildlife on Iveragh lead secret lives after dark. Join zoologist Linda Lyne of the LIVE Project and John O’Sullivan at Ballyhearney House, Valentia, to learn more about these animals and some of the adaptations that help them navigate at night.
Astrophysics Talk - Valentia
Saturday 5th March | 8pm - 9pm
Join astrophysicist Prof Paul Callanan for an evening talk in The Royal Hotel, Valentia, on 'Gravitational Waves and the hunt for the missing Black Holes’. A regular visitor to Iveragh, Paul teaches an 'Introduction to Astronomy' through UCC outreach centre Skellig CRI in Cahersiveen.
What's in the Sky Tonight? – Ballinskelligs
Saturday 5th March | 8.30pm - 10pm
You may have seen them presenting online at the monthly Kerry Dark Sky talks, but now you can meet them in person! Join Steve Lynott of Kerry Dark Sky Tourism and John Flannery of Irish Astronomical Association for an evening of stargazing and astronomy – suitable for families. Children must be supervised at all times.
Seashore Safari with Sea Synergy
Sunday 6th March | 12pm - 1pm
Come along to this Seashore Safari with Sea Synergy - explore the local seashore with marine biologists who will help you uncover some of the secrets of the creatures living in one of the most extreme environments. We will explore the rock pools and animals that live there, learn cool facts and find crabs, prawns, starfish and much more!
Book directly with Sea Synergy.
Walk of the Planets - Caherdaniel
Sunday 6th March | 2pm - 5pm
Join local guide Traolach Sweeney for a Walk of the Planets - a 7km trail from Caherdaniel to Coad and back, along the Kerry Way. with spectacular views and a scaled representation of our solar system. Specially commissioned markers at each stop will enable a wonderful exploration of the planets found in our Solar System. To get an idea of the distance of each planet from the sun and from each other.