You won’t find the greatest show in the world on Broadway or in London’s West End. It’s not airing at 9 p.m. on Sunday night on HBO and, contrary to popular belief – you don’t have to board a plane to check it out.

Over recent years, thanks to strong solar wind activity, explorers have been able to gaze open-mouthed at the magnificent Northern Lights in Ireland.

If you’ve been dreaming of seeing this natural wonder then the guide below will take you through everything you need to know.

The Northern Lights in Ireland – Photos to get you Dreaming

Here’s a little taste of what you can expect if you are lucky enough the catch the Northern Lights in all their glory.

Each of the below photos was taken in the magnificent County of Donegal.

If you’re thinking about visiting Donegal, check out our 3-day Donegal road trip guide that’s packed with the best things to do in the county.

1 – Aurora Borealis over Lagg Church, Malin Head on the Wild Atlantic Way

aurora borealis ireland
Photo by Michaell Gill

2 – The Skies Smiling above Tra na Rossan Beach in Co. Donegal

northern lights ireland
Photo by Rita Wilson

3 – A Splatter of starts above Fanad Head Lighthouse

fanad head lighthouse northern lights
Photo by Rita Wison

4 – The Northern Lights shining over Malin Head

northern lights donegal
Snapped by Adam Rory Porter

5 – Shrove Lighthouse on the Stunning Inishowen Peninsula

where to see the northern lights in ireland
Shot by Michael Gill

6 – A Front Row Seat on Dooey Beach

northern lights in ireland
By Rita Wilson

7 – Aurora Borealis over Linsfort Church at Malin Head

aurora borealis donegal
By Adam Rory Porter

Where to see the Northern Lights in Ireland

So, the photos above will give you a fair indication of where exactly you’ll have to go to see the Northern Lights, but here’s a full breakdown.

The most consistent places in Ireland to check them out according to these lads are all in Donegal.

the milky way from ireland
The Milky Way and Aurora Borealis in the sky over Urris by Adam Rory Porter

Malin Head, Dunree Head, Fanad Head, the Rosguil Peninsula and beyond all the way around to Glencolmcille and Sliabh Liag will offer you perfect vantage points once the conditions are right.

Naturally enough you’ll need to wait until after dark. You’ll also want to be as far from light pollution as possible.

How to know when they’ll be visible

So, here’s where it gets interesting…

northern lights checker

  • Step 1 – Head on over to this website
  • Step 2 – Flick down to the section of the page shown in the image above
  • Step 3 – look at the Kp value – this will tell you how likely it is that the Aurora Borealis will be visible.
malin head northern lights
A Perfect Spot to kick-back and take it all in at Malin Head
By Michael Gill

Ah here, what’s this Kp craic all about?

The Kp is a number from 0 to 9 which refers to geomagnetic activity (don’t ask me what this means…).

If the number is 4 or above, then that’s a good sign – hop in the car and head North after dark, but make sure the skies are clear in advance.

If the Kp is less than 4 then it’s unlikely that the Northern Lights will be lighting up the sky.

Northern Lights Alerts

If you’re really keen on seeing them and want to take your monitoring a step further, download this monitoring app.

What it does

  • Find the current KP index and how likely you are to see the Northern Lights in Ireland or the rest of the world.
  • View a list of the best locations to view from right now.
  • Map showing how strong the aurora is around the world, based on the SWPC ovation auroral forecast.
  • Free push notifications when auroral activity is expected to be high.

The best part of all is it’s completely free of charge for all functionality and there’s no in-app purchases.

And that's a wrap!
Have you managed to have a gander at the Northern Lights in Ireland? Or are they on the bucket list? Let me know below!