On Monday 27th of January a packed Ring of Kerry hotel in Caherciveen in Kerry saw the Kerry Dark Sky Reserve receive it’s official Gold Standard status from the International Dark Sky Association. This is the first Gold Tier reserve in the Northern Hemisphere.The Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve covers an area of approximately 700km sq that includes most of the Iveragh Peninsula taking in Kells, Cahersiveen, Valentia Island, Waterville, Portmagee, Caherdaniel and Ballinskelligs.
Over 1.5 million tourists pass through the Ring of Kerry and the rise in astro-tourism will encourage visitors to stay longer and provide an incentive to visit the area in the Winter period.
The skies are some of the darkest in the world with SQM readings of over 21 in the core area corresponding to a naked eye limiting magnitude of below 7. With the Milky Way, which is invisible from most towns and cities, clearly visible as a river of stars across the sky.
A website for the Reserve will be on-line in the coming days. The application listing the work and commitments by Kerry Co. Co., Failte Ireland, and of course local business and communities is on the IDA website at http://darksky.org/assets/Night_Sky_Conservation/Reserves/Kerry/Kerry_IDSR_app.pdf