Dark Sky Tourism Team

    Friday 9th April 2021 @ 12 noon

    Dark Sky Tourism FREE WEBINAR with Fáilte Ireland and astrotourism specialists

    Just this week the Government of Ireland launched “Our Rural Future” - Rural Policy Development Policy 2021-2025.  This document recognises the need for a national Dark Sky strategy to encourage tourism recovery in rural areas with an action to: 

    “Develop a new Dark Skies Strategy, with a focus on the opportunities this unique blend of tourism and science can create for rural communities.”

    The time is now to explore the potential of dark sky tourism and Mayo Dark Sky Park will host a free webinar on 9th April as part of International Dark Sky Week.  This webinar aims to inform and inspire hospitality businesses about the potential of Dark Sky Tourism with expert speakers from Fáilte Ireland and an international panel from India, France and Canada.

    Sonal – Astrostays

    Astrostays: Community-Led Astro-tourism

    Astrostays is a community-led astro-tourism model that places sustainable tourism and community development at its core. The project aims to empower local communities by diversifying economic streams and creating new opportunities for livelihood creation through astro-tourism. This model is also an innovative form of experiential tourism that generates economic benefits directly for remote regions that have access to clear night skies while creating unique and engaging experiences for travellers.

    Sonal Asgotraa is the Program Lead of Astrostays (www.astrostays.com) - a unique community centric Astro-tourism model that leverages Astronomy for creating sustainable Socio- economic Development opportunities for rural communities. The initiative merges Astronomy and community development initiatives to promote astro-tourism as a more sustainable form of travel that brings the economic benefits of tourism to remote areas, away from built up tourist regions - transforming village homestays into Cultural and Astronomy Hubs and economically empowering rural communities. Sonal was also a team member of the 2013 International Antarctic Expedition led by Polar Explorer, Sir Robert Swan, OBE

    Maximising the Potential of Dark Skies Tourism in Mayo

    Fionnán Nestor, Fáilte Ireland

    Interest in the outdoors, clean air and escaping crowds has never been greater since the arrival of Covid-19. Access to experiences that bring visitors into nature will be key determining factors for many tourists as we emerge from the pandemic. Wild Nephin National Park / Mayo Dark Sky Park position Mayo as an ideal destination for those visitors seeking escape and pristine environment. This talk will explore the potential of dark skies tourism in Mayo and the role sustainable tourism will play in driving the recovery. 

    About Fionnán

    Fionnán is Projects Officer for Mayo on the Wild Atlantic Way team within Fáilte Ireland - Ireland's National Tourism Development Authority. Fionnán was heavily involved in a 2019 report commissioned by Fáilte Ireland entitled: "Maximising the Potential of Dark Skies Tourism in Ireland" and is currently finalising a tourism development plan for the Clew Bay area of Mayo which includes a number of of ambitious dark sky projects.

    Astrotourism with Meet Star Gazers mobile app

    By Sujay Patil

    Meet Star Gazers mobile app consolidates and characterises the best locations to observe the night sky. While building this mobile app I realised that dark sky reserves and dark sky parks were making significant efforts to reduce light pollution and limit the impact of artificial light at night. This was not only good for animals, insects and birds but also for astronomy enthusiasts who are looking for dark skies for stargazing and astrophotography. I have started the process of curating good locations within dark sky parks for observing the night sky. Some dark sky parks have worked with BnBs in their perimeters to provide astro-curious guests an opportunity to experience night skies with minimal light pollution from the comfort of their BnBs. Some BnBs have gone further by offering complementary features likes stargazing kits, glass pyramids to sleep under the stars etc. I am curating all the Dark Sky Friendly BnBs in the world and adding them to the Meet Star Gazers map. I ask for recommendations from Dark Sky Parks to identify Dark Sky Friendly BnBs that have made a conscious effort to reduce light pollution in their properties.

    About Sujay

    Sujay is an amateur astronomer from India but based in Paris, France. He’s a mechanical engineer by education. In addition to being the creator of Meet Star Gazers mobile app, he is also host of Meet Star Gazers podcast to help beginners get started on their journey in astronomy, nightscape photography and astrotourism. The app and the podcast are tools he has developed to raise awareness about light pollution and to promote astrotourism..

    Astrotourism in Terra Nova Dark Sky Preserve (Canada)

    Welcome to Mayo Dark Sky Park. Mayo is now home to Ireland’s first International Dark Sky Park, showcasing some of the darkest, most pristine skies in the world.

    Where the darkest skies reveal the brightest stars.


    Ballycroy National Park Visitor Centre,
    National Parks & Wildlife Service,
    Ballycroy Village,
    Co. Mayo

    +353 (0)98 49 888