Caroline Gleeson from Ennis, Co. Clare has been selected to feature in an exhibition of the judges’ 20 top-rated images, as part of the inaugural ‘Reach for the Stars’ astrophotography competition run by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.
The exhibition is running online initially, on the DIAS website, www.dias.ie. An outdoor exhibition at DIAS’s premises on Burlington Road is planned for the coming weeks, followed – later in the summer – by an exhibition at DIAS Dunsink Observatory.
Ms. Gleeson’s image ‘Poulnabrone Dolmen’ captures the Milky Way above Poulnabrone Dolmen in Co. Clare.
In addition to choosing the 20 exhibition images, the high-profile judging panel for ‘Reach for the Stars’ also selected the Top 3 winning entries to the competition. Josh Mathews from Moyard, Co. Galway was selected as the overall winner for his image, ‘To the Waters and the Wild’. Ciaran P. O’Donnell from Newtownabbey, Belfast, Co. Antrim and Tom Hanlon from Tullamore, Co. Offaly were announced as runners-up, for their submissions, ‘Cygnus Mosaic in Hubble Palette’ and ‘North Star Jesuit House’ respectively.
Feedback from the Judges
Commenting on the images selected for the exhibition, Professor Peter Gallagher, Head of Astrophysics at DIAS and a member of the judging panel for ‘Reach for the Stars’, said: “The standard of entries to the competition was excellent, and the judging panel had a very difficult job making our final selection. The chosen images showcase a variety of striking and impressive astronomy scenes, and capture the talent of astrophotographers in Ireland.”
Brenda Fitzsimons, Picture Editor of The Irish Times and a member of the judging panel, said: “I’m simply in awe of the talent, perseverance and technical ability applied to accomplish these wonderful images. The winning photographs are not only astonishingly beautiful and a well-balanced images, but are perfectly executed. It is evident that the photographers have immense technical knowledge and patience.”
Fellow judge Martina Quinn, Managing Director of competition sponsors Alice PR & Events, remarked on how the Irish landscape provided a striking backdrop for the astro-photographs.
“It was fantastic to see people’s creativity in capturing beautiful Irish landscapes whilst also showcasing astronomical features to stunning effect,” she said. “From Neolithic tombs to beaches and urban parks, there were entries from all corners of the country. It was also great to see such variety in the range of skill and creativity – from professional photographers and seasoned astronomers to people with an interest in astronomy or photography just as a hobby. The competition certainly captured people’s imaginations, which is what it was all about.”
Speaking about the entries overall, John Flannery, Vice-President of the Irish Astronomical Society and member of the judging panel, added: “I was blown away by the entries to the competition – the level of skill, imagination and creativity shown. Many of the images captured very complex astronomical features that are extremely difficult to photograph, and require great skill and patience. It is great to see such interest in astronomy from both amateur and experienced photographers and astronomers across the country.”
DIAS as a leader in astronomy
Commenting on the success of the competition, Dr. Eucharia Meehan, CEO and Registrar of DIAS said: “I would like to congratulate the winners of the competition – and those selected for inclusion in the exhibition – on their achievements, and thank them and indeed all entrants for sharing their creativity with us.
“This competition builds on DIAS’s – and Ireland’s – proud astronomical heritage. DIAS Dunsink Observatory is one of Ireland’s most important scientific sites and has been recognised by the European Physical Society as a ‘site of historical significance’. We hope that the competition has inspired people to explore astronomy and astrophotography, and encouraged them to look up into the night sky and appreciate its beauty.”