Sneem, a charming village in County Kerry, Ireland, is known for its beautiful scenery, friendly people, and vibrant culture. But did you know that Sneem is also home to the darkest skies in Europe?
Gold Tier Dark Sky Award
In 2014, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) designated the 700 square kilometer area around Sneem as a Gold Tier Dark Sky Reserve. This means that the area has minimal light pollution, making it an ideal place to stargaze. Furthermore, this Gold Tier Award was the first in the Northern hemisphere and one of only four top tier reserves in the world.
The Dark Skies Experience
There are many reasons to visit Sneem to experience its dark skies. Here are just a few:
- You can see the Milky Way and other constellations with the naked eye.
- You can spot shooting stars and other astronomical phenomena.
- You can enjoy the peace and quiet of the night sky.
- You can learn about astronomy from local experts.
Where to go:
There are many places to stargaze in Sneem. Here are a few of the best:
- Staigue Fort: This ancient stone fort is located on a hilltop overlooking the village. It’s a great place to stargaze because it’s far away from light pollution.
- Derrynane Beach: This beautiful beach is located on the Iveragh Peninsula near Caherdaniel. It’s a great place to stargaze because it’s surrounded by dark skies.
- Álaind Lodges B&B: On a clear night our guests can see more stars than they ever thought possible. This is because we are located between the mountains and the sea in an area with minimal light pollution.
Check out this picture of the Milky Way Galaxy taken by Katie Gordon recently at Álaind Lodges. You can see more of Katie’s incredible photos on her Instagram Page.
When to go:
The best time to stargaze in Sneem is during the new moon. This is when there is no moonlight to interfere with your view of the stars.
What to bring:
When you go stargazing in Sneem, be sure to bring the following:
- A telescope or binoculars: This will help you see the stars and other astronomical objects more clearly.
- A camera: This will allow you to capture the beauty of the night sky.
- A warm jacket: It can get chilly at night in Sneem.
- A flashlight: This will help you find your way around in the dark.
Why Stargazing in Sneem is a Fantastic Thing to Do:
If you’re looking for a truly dark sky experience, then Sneem is the perfect place for you. With its minimal light pollution and stunning scenery, Sneem is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with the natural world.
On a clear night and you’ll soon be gazing at countless stars, picking out the constellations or spotting shooting stars. Don’t worry if you don’t have a telescope or binoculars, unlike in the towns and cities, you can see so much here with the naked eye.
Stargazing is absolutely free and you can spend as long or as little time doing it as you like.
You can read more about the Dark Skies Award itself.
Having a headtorch with a red light option will allow you to move around safely, while preserving your night vision. This is particularly helpful if you are an astro-photography fan and using camera equipment.
Another great and fun way to experience the amazing dark skies of Sneem is to try a night walk experience with Fergal Harrington from Álaind Walking Holidays. The length of the walk can be tailored to suit you. You can email or call Fergal directly at +353-85-1422677 to plan your night walk adventure.