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northern lights looking over a lake

You don’t need to travel as far as Iceland to see the magical Aurora Borealis! Believe it or not, you can see the magical Northern Lights display across the Emerald Isle. 

Whether in County Donegal or the County Kerry International Dark-Sky Park, you can enjoy the Northern Lights in Ireland. Gaze across the night sky and enjoy the light show, leaving your family and friends and awe.

If you want to experience this natural phenomenon, read on to discover the best places to see the Northern Lights in Ireland…

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, occurring when solar wind particles crash into the Earth’s magnetosphere.

The Northern Lights are also commonly known as the Aurora Borealis; a similar event occurs in the southern hemisphere called the Aurora Australis.

It is most common to see a green or red aurora, and these often take the form of a mild glow, patches, arcs, rays and coronas.

When is the best time to see the Northern Lights in Ireland?

Aurora Borialis behind trees

The best time to see the Northern Lights in Ireland is in September, October, March and April. This is due to the way the Earth tilts, and the solar wind that’s produced as a result, during these months.

The lights can also be seen from November to February, under the right conditions.

Nighttime is the best time of the day to see the aurora borealis in Ireland. It is best to avoid light pollution from towns and cities.

It is also crucial to consider the weather; you are more likely to see the Northern lights on a clear, dark night with no clouds in the sky.

Head to the Donegal Weather Channel to see today’s Aurora Borealis forecast.

Top Tip: Finding somewhere along the coast with clear views north offers you the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights in Ireland! 

Where to stay close to Northern Lights locations in Ireland

Best places to see the Northern Lights in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, you are more likely to see the Northern Lights the further north you travel, that’s why it is a great idea to head to County Donegal to catch a glimpse of the magical light show.

Take a look at the list below to find the best place to see the Aurora Borealis in Northern Ireland…

County Donegal

county donegal aurora borealis

In Ireland, County Donegal is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights, because it is Ireland’s most northerly county.

There are many stunning locations to set yourself up for an evening of star gazing; with low levels of light pollution and clear views north, you have a great chance to see the aurora borealis in Donegal.

Malin Head, County Donegal

Malin head

Malin Head is the most northerly point in Ireland. It gives you great views north over the Atlantic Ocean.

You can find views of the Northern Lights in a clear, dark sky at Malin Head, and it is one of the most popular places for tourists to seek out this natural phenomenon.

Fanad Peninsula, County Donegal

fanad lighthouse

While the Fanad Peninsula is a little further south than Malin Head, it offers similar uninterrupted views north.

Fanad Head is a great spot to see the Northern Lights in Ireland and provides a wonderful photo opportunity.

If you catch the Aurora Borealis at the right time, you can create a stunning image with the Fanad Lighthouse in the foreground.

Don’t forget to tag us in the photo if you find an impressive shot!

Inishowen Peninsula, County Donegal

green northern lights

The Inishowen Peninsula is where you can find Malin Head, along with a variety of uninterrupted views along the northern coast.

You can set up on the beach or the cliffs but be sure to choose a clear night with no light pollution from the neighbouring towns and villages.

Sliabh Liag, County Donegal

bright green northern lights

Although Sliabh Liag is a southern-facing coastline, you can get dramatic views of the Northern Lights on the right day.

My advice to get the best views would be to head towards Bunglass Point. Here you can look north over Sliabh Liag and see the mysterious green light show overhead.

Dunree Head, County Donegal

If you head towards Dunree Head, the lighthouse is the best place to see the Nothern Lights in Donegal.

As you look out, you will see that you are surrounded on either side by Inishowen Peninsula and Fanad Peninsula.

Looking north, you have clear views with low levels of light pollution and a good chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis.

Best places to see the Northern Lights in Ireland

While it is not as easy to see the Northern Lights in Ireland as it is in Northern Ireland, there are still opportunities to see the stunning lights display, if the conditions are right. County Kerry offers a very special location from which to see the Aurora Borealis in Ireland…

Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve, County Kerry

ring of kerry landscape

We understand not everyone can make the journey to Donegal for the Northern Lights.

If you are in the south of Ireland, County Kerry has a Dark Sky zone that aims to provide visitors with an opportunity to investigate the wonders of the night sky.

In Kerry, your chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis are a lot lower. However, it is one of the best places to see the natural wonder, in the right conditions.

That is because the Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve put in a lot of effort to ensure visitors get the best experiences.

Now you have seen the best places in Ireland to see the Northern Lights, it’s time to head out and see them for yourself. Take your family and friends and enjoy a magical display of the Aurora Borealis in Ireland. Check out these cottages in County Donegal and cottages in County Kerry to start planning your Northern Lights trip to Ireland.

Image Credits – Greg Clarke – (CC BY 2.0)