Successful International Conference Bid for Westport, Mayo!
Friends of Mayo Dark Skies and Dark Sky Ireland to jointly host a multidisciplinary international conference on artificial light at night and its impact on biodiversity, culture science and human wellbeing.
28-30th October 2025 (immediately preceding the Mayo Dark Sky Festival)
The artificial light at night (ALAN) conference is dedicated to examining all aspects of artificial light at night, from light production to the consequences of excessive light on our natural world, including on human health and the environment.
The awarding of the multidisciplinary conference was announced at this year’s meeting which took place in Calgary, Canada recently, attended by an international audience of delegates.
ALAN 2025 will be held in Westport from 28th to 30th October and will be jointly organised by the Friends of Mayo Dark Skies and Dark Sky Ireland. The dates immediately precede Mayo Dark Sky Festival 2025, so visitors will have an option to stay longer in the region to experience Mayo Dark Sky Park at Wild Nephin National Park and enjoy further off-season dark sky events.
The ALAN 2025 conference will be open to a diverse international audience including academics, architects, astronomers, community groups, conservationists, dark sky advocates, ecologists, engineers, lighting experts, planners, policy makers, scientists, students and more (!) to discuss the challenges and explore the solutions to light pollution and the implementation of best practices for dark sky friendly lighting.
Prof. Brian Espey, Chair of Dark Sky Ireland said “Our committee worked hard to deliver a successful bid for this international conference and we are delighted with the news that we will be bringing it to Westport, Mayo in 2025. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Galway Convention Bureau team for their assistance in bid preparation. We all look forward to welcoming international delegates in 2025.”
Preparations are already underway to host the 2025 event which will showcase Mayo’s dark skies and provide an opportunity for new communities to reconsider and improve lighting practices across the county. “We are working with Mayo County Council on a policy to tackle light pollution which is a very welcome step to reduce emissions and improve the natural night-time environment” said Georgia MacMillan, Mayo Dark Sky Park Development Officer.
More information will be available soon, but make a note in the diary for this exciting international conference coming to Ireland 28-30 October 2025.
The Friends of Mayo Dark Skies is a community group founded between Newport, Mulranny and Ballycroy. Its members also include the organising committee of the annual Mayo Dark Sky Festival. The Friends of Mayo Dark Skies work closely with Mayo Dark Sky Park at Wild Nephin National Park, Mayo County Council and with Dark Sky Ireland to in order to restore and protect the night skies for present and future generations.
A Dark Sky Park is a place where exceptional starry skies are protected and valued as an important educational, cultural, scenic and natural resource. Yet, even in rural Ireland, we are losing our largest natural habitat, the night sky, at an alarming rate due to the growth of light pollution. The Milky Way (our own Galaxy) is no longer visible to over 50% of people in Ireland from their own homes and over 18% of the Irish population already uses colour vision at night as we have created 24 hour daylight conditions in many places.
Dark Sky Ireland
Dark Sky Ireland (DSI) is an all-Ireland body which was formally constituted in 2018 and currently consists of a coalition of approximately 70 stakeholder groups and individuals. Groups involved cover a broad range of diverse interests including health, biodiversity, astronomy, heritage, amongst others and the overall aim of Dark Sky Ireland is to protect and restore Irish night skies for the benefit of the environment and all species. Dark Sky Ireland is affiliated to Dark Sky International an international body which has accredited the Irish dark sky areas. For further information see https://www.darksky.ie/
Why are Dark Skies important?
It’s surprising how few people have ever seen a truly dark sky. For centuries natural, starry night skies have inspired art, science, poetry and helped explorers to navigate. Without taking action to reduce light pollution, there is a risk of losing our view of the stars as well as a threat to our biodiversity, climate action goals and our wellbeing.
One of the unintended consequences of creating artificial daylight at night with blue-rich LED technology is that we are interfering with our circadian rhythms. This has longer-term implications for human health matters and for biodiversity; drawing important species such as night pollinators away from natural habitats and food sources