The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has announced the official launch of ‘Under Darkening Skies’ a public art commission by the visual artist Susan Mannion at the Ballycroy Visitor Centre at Wild Nephin National Park.
The artwork was commissioned by the OPW under the Percent for Art Scheme, in collaboration with the NPWS and Mayo County Council Arts Service, to mark the tenth anniversary of the Ballycroy Visitor Centre.
The artwork was officially launched by Sean Lysaght on June 21st, an auspicious day in the astronomical calendar, being the Summer solstice, the longest day of the year.
Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan has welcomed the installation of the artwork: “This inspiring artwork by Susan Mannion will give pause for thought on the importance and beauty of our all-encompassing natural world. The designation of the Dark Sky Park on the western seaboard of Ireland introduces the next chapter in the evolution of Wild Nephin National Park and the unique opportunities it will bring to the local community and to the wider region.”
Susan Mannion is a visual artist based in Boyle specialising in copper enamel work, a technique that has been used since the 13th century BC.
Wild Nephin National Park was accredited Gold Tier dark sky place status by the International Dark Sky Association in 2016, with the Mayo Dark Sky Park being Ireland’s first Dark Sky Park.
Under Darkening Skies’ can be seen on the exterior wall on the Ballycroy Visitor Centre, which is open to the public daily from 10.00 – 17.30 from mid-March to early November.