Seeing the Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis, appears on many people’s bucket lists, but you don’t have to travel to the arctic circle to see them. This breath-taking natural phenomenon can be viewed from our own north coast, particularly in areas with low light pollution.
Astronomers tell us we are heading towards ‘solar maximum’, the period when the Northern Lights are most active. It happens roughly every ten years, so now is a great time to start planning your trip to see one of nature’s most spectacular light shows.
Head to the Dark
The Northern Lights are best seen in dark conditions. Winter is undoubtedly the best time of year when the sky is at its darkest, but make sure you head away from towns – streetlights and brightly lit homes can make the aurora harder to see.
How You Will Know When to Go
Keep an eye out for aurora reports online. Twitter is a good source of news, and @AstronomyIreland and @NorthernLightsAlertIreland both announce when there’s solar activity with a good chance to see the aurora.
The Northern Lights can be unpredictable, and you could be waiting for a few hours before you’ll see a display. Make sure you’re warm – heated sleeping bags are great. A centrally heated campervan is even better! Have a look at our website for all the options for keeping you warm on your aurora watch. Our Belfast showroom is open six days per week, so pop in to view our fantastic campervans available for hire, plus all the camping accessories to make a winter star-gazing trip warm and comfortable.
Best Places in Ireland to View the Northern Lights
Mussenden Temple is a stunning location by day and night. There’s nothing between you and the Arctic Circle so a great spot for seeing the Northern Lights dancing on the horizon.
Dunluce Castle is another beautiful location on our North Coast and the dramatic ruins will form a romantic backdrop to one of nature’s wonders.
Inishowen Peninsula, in Donegal is the most northerly spot in Ireland so experiences the Northern Lights most frequently. With its isolation and sparse population, you’ll have less pollution too. So, find a beach or headland with a great view north, park up for the night and wait for the sky to come alive.
Benone Beach near Limavady is another great spot for star gazing. It has an uninterrupted view north, so you might be treated to the Northern Lights against the sound of waves lapping the shore.
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