Island Life

LIFE Raft Project

Media Release: Rathlin Island, a new addition to Northern Ireland Science Festival 2023

Friday 10/02/23

Media Release – for immediate release

Rathlin Island, a new addition to Northern Ireland Science Festival 2023

Rathlin’s first ever NI Science Festival event will draw focus to the night sky, with family-friendly and fun educational events from Friday 17 to Sunday 19 February.

Rathlin Island is the perfect location for Northern Ireland Science Festival fans to explore the night sky. RDCA has created an exciting event with guest speakers sharing their passion for astronomy, and conservationists discussing why the night sky is important for the wildlife around us. Tickets are free, but it’s important to register on the Northern Ireland Science Festival website.

Welcoming Terry Moseley from Irish Astronomical Association to guide us through the night sky. With favourable clear skies, the viewing centre at Rathlin’s West Lighthouse will be the location to explore the stars with Terry and his team. There will be opportunities to use astronomical telescopes and information on the best way to find specific stars, and much more.

Rathlin’s very own Manor House will be the focal point for family-friendly events such as a reading hosted by the Rathlin community, of Jill Tomlinson’s captivating story of Plop; “The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark”. There will also be face painting and fun activities by the fireside for the younger family members.

During the day, we will learn about our closest star, the Sun, that brings light and life to our world. With exciting opportunities to try out a specifically designed telescope that allows you to safely see the sun, you can spot amazing sunspots with no risk of damaging your eyes. Try your hand at the VR headsets, to explore nearby planets, our solar system and other interesting features in the sky above. This is a perfect way to explore and learn in all weather conditions.

James Crymble, a Seabird Scientist with the LIFE Raft project will be on hand to explore how artificial light can be a major problem for bird life.

Michael Cecil from the RDCA said: “The Rathlin Development and Community Association (RDCA), representing the community on the Island, are delighted that the NI Science Festival have welcomed us as part of this year’s programme. We have long held the belief that Rathlin is an ideal location to try out new ideas; astronomy and star gazing being high up on our wish list. The Island suffers very little from light pollution and has panoramic views in every direction. We look forward to taking part and learning more about what surrounds us, this will hopefully be the first of many such events in the future and offer all taking part everything that Rathlin has to offer.”

Jillian Thompson from NI Science Festival: “We at the NI Science Festival are delighted to be working with the Rathlin community for the first time this year, with a fantastic selection of events for all ages who live on the island as well as visitors visiting over the school half-term holiday weekend. This is just the start of an exciting partnership between the organisations, and we look forward to seeing how we can build upon it in future editions of the Festival.”

Rauri Morgan from the LIFE Raft project: “February is a fantastic month to visit Rathlin, the first hints of spring are starting to appear, with flora and fauna rebounding after winter. Getting to the island is where the excitement and your experience really begins. The ferry journey adds to the sense of adventure and connection to nature. We encourage people to book their travel and accommodation so you can truly enjoy our Rathlin’s event as part of the NI Science Festival.”

Why not join us on Rathlin for the weekend? Reserve your tickets now on the NI Science Festival Website:


For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:


Images to accompany this story can be found:

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Rathlin Development and Community Association is the voluntary body that represents the Rathlin community. The RDCA promotes the rathlin way of life, and works for improvements to services and infrastructure.
  2. Established in 2014, NI Science Festival has grown to become the largest celebration of its kind on the island of Ireland and in its relatively short lifespan became one of the leading Science Festivals in the whole of Europe.
  3. LIFE Raft is a partnership between RSPB NI; Rathlin Development and Community Association; Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust; Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council; National Parks and Wildlife Service; and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. This project is funded by EU LIFE; National Lottery Heritage Fund; and DAERA.
  4. Please see accommodation providers on the event page of our new website:
  5. Tickets are free but please register on the Northern Ireland Science Festival website.

Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland's only inhabited island

The Resource Centre
Rathlin Island
Co. Antrim
BT54 6RT

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