County Kerry's dark skies recognised
The area has been awarded Gold-tier status by the IDA
Winter constellations over St. Finian's Bay near Ballinskelligs, Ireland. Credit: Steve Owens
Hot on the heels of Northumberland and Kielder, Kerry, Ireland is the latest area to be awarded dark-sky status by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).
Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve is the first recognised dark-sky place in Ireland and the first reserve in the northern hemisphere to be awarded Gold-tier status, ranking it among some of the darkest sites in the world.
Local organisation the Kerry Dark Sky Group have worked tirelessly for over three years to secure dark sky status for the 700 square kilometre site sandwiched between the Kerry Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.
The group were even able to convince Kerry County Council to replace all public street lighting with dark-sky friendly light fixtures by the end of this year.
"The granting of this award will provide new opportunities to enjoy and experience the beauty of South West Kerry's night sky," said Julie Ormonde, Chairperson of the Kerry Dark Sky Group and Project Manager of the Reserve.
"It will encourage other areas in Kerry, and in Ireland as a whole, to take positive action to protect their own dark-sky areas."