Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve


Enjoy the Kerry Dark Sky Reserve with us

We want you have an enjoyable rewarding experience so we arrange our star gazing experiences at easy accessible locations within the reserve. We can also arrange pick up at your location by our local transport partners at reasonable cost.

As sunset comes later in the summer, we time our tours so that you can enjoy dinner and join us as darkness falls (and still make it back to the pub if you wish!)

Star Gazing Experience

Our Stars experience has been developed to inform, entertain and share our enthusiasm for the Dark Sky with visitors to Kerry. Our guides will explain Moon’s phases and how they affect us on Earth .We will tell you what planets you may see and where. We even alert you to the passage of visible satellites. Most of all we will teach you a little of the stories and legends of the stars and constellations.

We limit the number of people on each experience to ensure that everybody gets to see some special sights through our telescopes. Sessions normally last about an hour however our guides enjoy their stars and are flexible when visitors have more questions. See HERE for more detailed information or book HERE

We offer complete flexibility to clients who wish to arrange a private stargazing experience and are happy to discuss your requirements. We can come to your location and add an extra dimension to your dinner party or barbeque with a post dinner tour of the stars. Call or email tru our Contact page or ask your Hotel or Guest House host to call us.

The Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve is located in the South West coast of Ireland in what is called an ISTHMUS – a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas, usually with water on either side. The Reserve is protected by the Kerry Mountains and Hills on one side and the Atlantic ocean on the other, is approx. 700 sq km in size and offers dark un-lightpolluted skies, inhabited villages, helpful locals, remote wilderness, long sandy beaches, and numerous lakes, islands and rivers.

Protection of the Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve is about protecting the day-time and nocturnal Wildlife in ALL its forms on land, river, lake and sea. As well as protecting and promoting the Heritage of numerous monuments of pre-historic stone, rock art etc that festoon the region, and protecting the quality of the dark night-time sky to witness them as our ancestors once did.

So, what is a Dark Sky Reserve?

An IDA ( Dark Sky Reserve has a core/buffer structure, similar to the design of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. The darkest night skies of such Reserves and Parks are in the Core Zone. The Buffer Zone, which usually includes more populated areas, protects the cores dark skies through the enacting of responsible outdoor light policies by municipal councils and private individuals. In the case of the Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve there are actually dark-sky areas in the Buffer Zone with equal star-viewing as can be found in the Core Zone.

What is a Core Zone?

The Core Zone is an area in which there is little or no critical light pollution. These are the area’s in which on clear moonless nights one can fully see the sky in all its glory – just as our ancestors did. This region is most suited to astro-photography, research and naked eye star gazing.

What is the Buffer Zone?

The Buffer Zone protects the Core Zone by ensuring that light pollution is kept under control in the Buffer Zone. If the Buffer Zone began to increase its outdoor public street lights (for instance) this would impact on the Core Zone.

The Reserve holds many natural assets including The Skellig Islands UNESCO World Heritage site, tracks of 350 million year old creatures, towering cliffs, sandy blue-flag beaches, windswept hills, rare flora and fauna and traditional wildlife such as foxes, badgers, hares, rabbits as well as endangered species like bats, frogs, toads etc. The Atlantic Ocean bordering one side of the Reserve is also the protected home to many sea creatures and plants. Many island bird sanctuaries surround the reserve with no visitors allowed except under strict guidance and permission. It is not unusual to see Dolphins playing out in the Derrynane, Kells, Ballinskelligs or Waterville Bay area, so keep a sharp eye out for them. The Reserve is unique because is is an inhabited ‘living’ Reserve, there is a school, a playground, a church, a pub even a small chocolate factory in the Core Zone. You can rent a house, stay in a Hostel or book into a B&B in the Core Zone area.

Protection of this Kerry Dark-Sky wonder is very important, hence the application to receive Dark-Sky Reserve recognition from the International Dark-Sky Association. To correctly map our evolution into this more technologically based society we need to remember, cherish and protect the starting-off point in human development, globally agreed to be humankind’s wonder at the heavens providing the first spark into the creation of what we now call science.