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‘You go into a trance and it’s a nice escape’ – meet Ireland’s stargazers

Learning about space and the night sky has been a huge lift for budding astronomy fans — of all ages — during the pandemic

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Órla Kearney from Dunleer, Co Louth checks out the night sky with her daughter, Julie (10). Photo: David Conachy

Órla Kearney from Dunleer, Co Louth checks out the night sky with her daughter, Julie (10). Photo: David Conachy

David Moore is chairman of Astronomy Ireland

David Moore is chairman of Astronomy Ireland

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Órla Kearney from Dunleer, Co Louth checks out the night sky with her daughter, Julie (10). Photo: David Conachy

When 10-year-old Julie Kearney came downstairs on Christmas morning, there was one present she was really hoping to find. “I asked Santa for a telescope two years ago, but he didn’t bring one. So I asked him again this Christmas — just to bring a really small one — but I got a huge one, so I did!” She beams.

Her mum, Órla, smiles too at Santa’s wisdom, because, since the schools closed in January, Julie’s telescope and new-found love of space has been the perfect antidote to the monotony and isolation of lockdown. She might be stuck at home in Co Louth, but above her is a whole world to explore.


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