Following a successful application for funding to the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund in 2019, the NPWS in partnership with Fáilte Ireland and Mayo County Council have plans for the design of two new visitor experiences in the Mayo Dark Sky Park (Wild Nephin National Park). Research and scientific and environmental assessments have been undertaken to identify suitable locations for a Planetarium and Multimedia Space and Observatory to be located in Mayo Dark Sky Park. Expert reports were commissioned on Astrotourism Suitability, Environmental Impact, Rural Tourism Development, Community Employment and Economic Impact with recommendations for the most suitable sites.
Ballycroy Visitor Centre has been identified as the site for the Planetarium and Multi Media Space, while the optimal site for the Observatory is in the Mayo Dark Sky Park at Letterkeen in Wild Nephin National Park.
The next phase of this ambitious journey will see the project partners work together to progress the feasibility and design phase for the Planetarium and Multimedia Space at Ballycroy Visitor Centre and a world class Observatory at the Letterkeen site.
Mayo Dark Sky Park has a Gold Tier accreditation as an International Dark Sky Park and celebrated its 5 year anniversary this year. The rising growth of astrotourism is attracting attention from all over the world. The successful realisation of these two new facilities would further elevate the Mayo Dark Sky Park internationally and enhance the portfolio of compelling visitor attractions in Mayo and in the northern half of the Wild Atlantic Way.