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  • Writer's picturePippa Hackett

Dark Skies Offaly

Updated: Jun 27

Following a very interesting event in the Birr Castle Visitor Centre to mark the start of National Biodiversity Week 2024, I am compiling some of the sources of information that were referred to by the presenters and panelists:


With Peter Gallagher, Fiona Dunne, Georgia MacMillan, Tony Johnston and Alicia Clements

My sincere thanks to Georgia MacMillan, Mayo Dark Sky Park Development Officer, Dr Tony Johnston, Dark Sky Ecotourism EU Project partner at TUS Athlone, Prof Peter Gallagher, Head of I-LOFAR Consortium and Alicia Clements, Birr Castle Estate for sharing their experience, expertise and some ideas for possible future steps for Offaly Dark Skies.


Night time biodiversity and viewing the night time skies go hand in hand, and light pollution increasingly has negative impacts on both. 


Resources mentioned included:


For tourism SMEs looking at dark sky tourism as a means to expand the season and their offering. These include the Dark Sky Ecotourism Guide, Dark Sky Audit and Ecotourism Assessment Tools and the Dark Sky Ecotourism App.


To better understand our local light pollution challenges, see the Light Pollution Map


For information on how we can help protect nocturnal pollinators: 'How-to-guide: Protecting Nocturnal Pollinators, one of the National Biodiversity Data Centre Series.


For more information on Dark Skies, I recommend you take a look at the Dark Skies Ireland and Mayo Dark Sky Park websites and social media. They both have guidelines on different types of lighting for homeowners, to Local Authorities, to sports clubs and businesses; see Dark Sky Ireland or Mayo Dark Sky Park


I will take what I have learned back to Government colleagues and will continue to support local efforts by working with stakeholders in County Offaly.


My thanks also to the team at Birr Castle Visitor Centre for looking after us so well in preparation for and during the event.


Pippa

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