THE PERSEID METEOR SHOWER IRELAND 2021: How to Watch and Viewing Tips

The Perseid Meteor Shower is one of my favourite times of the year, there is nothing like getting out of the city on a summer night to watch a star-filled sky as the bright Perseids streak across in vivid colours.

The peak of the meteor shower is on the morning of the 13th August from midnight till before dawn in Ireland, at the peak the rate of "shooting stars" can be up to 100 per hour, and thankfully this year the moon will set in the Dublin area at 22:47GMT on the 12th of August so there will be no lunar glare to hamper the show. Viewing the night before and the night after is highly recommended too. As as the earth moves into the dust trail of comet Swift-Tuttle the meteors can be seen from late July until late August but the rates are less the further away from the 13th you are.

Below I have added some viewing tips for the shower and some links to help you along the way.


A Perseid Meteor streaks across the sky above Glendalough lake.
A Perseid Meteor falls above Glendalough Lake in Wicklow

Viewing Tips for the Perseid Meteor Shower


1. Move as far from city lights and light pollution as possible.
2. Check the cloud forecast in the area you are planning to view from.
3. Dress in warm comfortable clothes, the clear summer nights are chilly!
4. Bring a sun lounger or blanket to sit on.
5. Bring a flask and some snacks.

Light Pollution:

It goes without saying that light pollution is one of the worst enemies for viewing the night sky, during a meteor shower only the brightest meteors can be seen from the city and the further you move away from bright lights will enhance your viewing experience. The West coast of Ireland is an ideal location with the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve and many parts of westerly Galway and Mayo being perfect locations for viewing. If a trip out West isn't on the agenda there are many places within an hour of Dublin that the meteor viewing will be vastly improved. Try to find an open location with good clearance all around you, and preferably a view of the horizon to the East. Here is a link to a Light Pollution Map I use to help you find darker sky locations close to your area.

Light Pollution Map

Cloud:

Checking the cloud forecast is the most important aspect of dark sky viewing, it is the reason I always have two or three locations set out a few days beforehand. Cloud is one of the hardest weather aspects to predict especially in Ireland! My personal format has always been to check the forecast 96 hours out to get an idea, then twice a day up until the day I plan to view. I won't go into the many weather charts I look over but I have added two links below to help along your way nearer the time of the shower.
The first is of course Met Eireann it is very easy to check the updated forecast on your chosen location.
For a realtime cloud update on the day I'm planning to view the Perseids I use Sat 24, it is also good after sunset if there's a chance of some cloud as it has an infrared setting.

Clothes:

It really does get quite chilly for some people on a clear summer night, warm comfortable clothes might not feel needed if it's 18c in Dublin at 9pm but it is a very different feeling at 2am in a valley in Wicklow or on the coast in Kerry. I usually wear a few layers that can be removed and added as needed.

Seating:

Looking up at the sky for so long does put strain on your neck, a sun lounger or blanket in an open space is perfect to lay back and watch the Perseid Meteor Shower. Remember the Perseids originate from the North East sky as Perseus rises around midnight but they can be seen all across the sky and before midnight you can be lucky enough to catch an "Earthgrazer" while the radiant if the shower is close to the horizon.

Drinks and Snacks:

In between taking photos there is nothing I like more than a starlight picnic! And a flask with a warm drink is perfect to keep the summer night chill out while enjoying the show.



A Perseid Meteor above the Irish Sea from Brittas Bay in Wicklow.
A Perseid Meteor above the Irish Sea from Brittas Bay in Wicklow.

If you have a red light bring it along, as the red light doesn't hamper your night vision when you're looking in your hamper for goodies! When you have settled in your eyes will start adapting to the dark, to let your eyes become fully dark adapted usually takes about 15-30 minutes, looking at your phone or bright lights during this time will set you back. Apart from the Perseids there is a wonderful view of the Milky Way during the night.
I hope the viewing tips above help you watch and enjoy this magical celestial event. And if you manage to take any photos I'd love to see them so #davidcostellophotography on social media!


Also Visible in the Night Sky this Summer in Ireland


The Milky Way core is visible right now if you're lucky enough to be out of city lights, it lasts until October in the Irish night sky and the same advice as above for best viewing.
The Buck Moon (or Thunder Moon and Hay Moon) reaches full phase on Friday the 23th of July.
The Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower peaks on the 29th of July, while meteors are not at the rate of The Perseids it is still an enjoyable summer watch and has a wide date range, viewing is directed towards the south near the horizon.