The 2016 Mayo Dark Sky Festival was a wonderful event. My initial idea was to organise an event for amateur astronomers and curious members of the public that would fit into the annual list of Star Parties that take place around the country in places like Athlone, Dublin, Galway and Ballinskelligs.
In keeping on the amateur astronomy theme I proposed that the 2017 weekend should take place during the New Moon weekend of October 20th – 22nd, the 21st is also the peak of he annual Orionid meteor shower and that weekend would have been perfect in Mayo with its rich dark skies.
This year’s event from October 27th – 30th has nothing to do with amateur astronomy or in keeping with the original idea, it is a tourism event by several tourism bodies to generate business for the town of Newport during this (off-peak) time of year. While Newport was the main focus last year the 2017 event is being extended to Mulranney and Ballycroy which is 18 miles away.
So for amateur astronomers or others that know me and attended last year I would ask them to pause before booking as it will be a very different and community based event.