7 best places to see Northern Lights in Ireland

An absolutely beautiful, awe-inspiring and unforgettable spectacle, The Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, is indeed one of the many wonders to be witnessed, on the bucket list of nature lovers. Being a common sight in the Arctic Circle, many people need to be made aware that they may also appear outside of the Arctic Circle. Ireland has reported a few nights of aurora activity recently, even if less frequent than its other northern counterparts.

Ireland, which lies between the 52nd and 55th latitudes, makes the country the ideal site to catch a glimpse of the glittering lights on its northern shores. To help you fulfil your interest in enjoying this magnificent scenery, we have listed the 7 best places to see Northern Lights in Ireland.

1. County Donegal

You can search for the aurora borealis in a number of counties in the northern part of Ireland. Nothing, however, has ever surpassed County Donegal. County Donegal is a fantastic location to see the aurora borealis. The favourable location provides the ideal backdrop for the aurora to dance over the skies. Here is a list of locations in Donegal where you may see the aurora spectrum –

1.1 Dooey Beach

It’s one thing to witness the aurora borealis dancing in the sky, but quite another to see them floating above the ocean. The Dooey Beach is here to provide us with the most breathtaking scenery imaginable. Due to the low levels of light pollution, it is one of the most well-liked locations in Donegal to chase after the lights. What could be more enjoyable than to observe the spectral waves spinning in the air and reflected in the water!

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1.2 Malin Head

Ireland’s northernmost point is Malin Head. It offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean in the north. Malin Head offers Northern Lights views under a bright, starry night sky. And it’s one of the most well-liked locations for travellers looking to experience this natural phenomenon.

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2. County Sligo

Another fantastic place to see the aurora borealis is County Sligo, which is next to Donegal. Mullaghmore, a small village in Co. Sligo, is the only location where you might strike it lucky. Unlike its neighbour Donegal, Sligo may not offer as many captivating panoramas or seascapes, but it does have a number of notable features, like Benbulben, and numerous outdoor activities to enjoy before the lights come on.

2.1 Mullaghmore

Mullaghmore is the place to go if you want to watch the aurora borealis in County Sligo. This little village is located on the same-named peninsula. It has always been a popular vacation spot for many travellers. Despite significant light pollution, it provides views to the north, allowing you to see the northern lights dancing across the night sky.

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3. County Mayo

When visiting Ireland, County Mayo should be on your itinerary, whether you’re looking for the northern lights or not. This location is well-known for its stunning views that are distinctive to Ireland. You should visit County Mayo for yourself and discover all of its amazing gems since it is very beautiful. Mayo’s reputation as a fantastic place for seeing the northern lights is another appealing aspect. Given its proximity to the Arctic Circle, it offers a few locations where you might strike it fortunate.

3.1 Downpatrick Head

County Mayo’s Downpatrick Head is a fantastic location to view the aurora. It’s a tiny peninsula facing the north, and there are no obstructions to the views. Furthermore, because of its location, it faces the Arctic Circle, the primary area where the aurora borealis shows up.

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3.2 Mullet Peninsula

Mullet Peninsula is another Mayo County peninsula to search for the aurora borealis. In light of its underdeveloped status, this location is regarded as having a small population. Consequently, light pollution won’t interfere with your view. Additionally, it includes a number of locations with broad sky views, allowing for clearer viewing of the fancy lights.

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4. County Kerry

We are aware that not everyone can travel to Donegal to view the Northern Lights. If you’re in the southern part of Ireland, County Kerry has a “Dark Sky” area designed to provide visitors with the chance to explore the glories of the night sky. Your chances of viewing the Aurora in Kerry are a bit smaller. Under the correct circumstances, it is one of the best locations to view the natural marvel. The prominent places in Kerry that provide excellent viewing platforms are –

4.1 Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve

You should visit Kerry’s well-known Kerry Dark Sky Reserve while there. It has been acknowledged as having one of Ireland’s darkest skies and the least amount of light pollution. As a result, it’s a fantastic location to wait for the northern lights to appear. Furthermore, activities like stargazing are possible due to the completely dark skies. While you wait for the aurora to appear, you can look at planets and star constellations.

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4.2 Valentia Island

Valentia Island is located in the westernmost tip of the Southern part of Ireland, off the Iveragh Peninsula. There is a reputation for increased chances of seeing the aurora borealis at this location. Additionally, Valentia Island has a lot to offer tourists. It has captivating scenery, a rich culture, and a long history. 

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Northern Lights – When to Expect

In Ireland, September, October, March, April, and the beginning of May are the finest months to view the Northern Lights. That is a result of how the Earth tilts during these months, as well as the solar wind that results from that tilt. But under the appropriate circumstances, you may also see the lights from November to February. 

Additionally, it is preferable to stay away from areas with urban light pollution. The weather must also be taken into consideration. The Northern lights are more visible on a clear, starry night with no clouds in the sky. 

Due to heightened geomagnetic activity, auroras typically occur more frequently around the period of the autumn, winter, and spring equinoxes. 

To observe the aurora in Ireland, check the websites for the Kp index (you are seeking values over 5) and wait for the sky to be cloud-free.

We hope you found this information useful and informative towards your quest for aurora borealis in Ireland. We would love to hear more of your thoughts and opinions in the comments section.

Additionally, if you enjoyed this blog post and want to stay updated on more places to visit in Ireland this summer, be sure to check our website. Thank you for reading and we look forward to seeing you in the next blog post!

Luvya Bhatia
Luvya Bhatia

An upcoming M.Sc. Communication and Media student at University College Dublin, with a B.A. (Honours) in English Literature from Amity University, Noida, India. Previously worked as a travel journalist, content proofreader and social media intern in India with a number of different media organisations. Specialises in working on Travel and Lifestyle pieces for Babylon Radio.

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