Astronaut candidate blasts off observatory’s ‘Curiosity’ festival

Niamh Shaw hopes to be first Irish person in space.

An aspiring astronaut hoping to become the first Irish person in space will share her adventures at a ‘Curiosity’ festival in Cork this week.

Niamh Shaw declared her ambition to exit the earth’s atmosphere earlier this year.

At Blackrock Castle Observatory, the artist, scientist, and actor will document her progress in a performance presentation.

“I’ve no doubt that by the time I am 65 I will get to space,” said Dr Shaw. “This year I set myself the task to see what would happen if I decided to realise my childhood dream of getting there.”

The show will see Dr Shaw share her progress in getting to space, what she’s learned to date, the people she’s met and her site visits to Nasa and the European Space Agency.

“I’m not a millionaire,” she said. “I’ve just put this out there to see what would happen. I’ve made this year about letting go of fears of failure and achieving the dream, and that in itself has thrown up so many opportunities. I’m meeting fascinating people, my world is expanding all the time.”

Dr Shaw, as the current artist in residence at the observatory, hopes her work will inspire others to follow their own dreams, particularly those choosing future career options.

In her presentation, she will document the history of space exploration and probe her own “obsession with space”.

She hopes to help shape changing perspectives of space while fostering a greater awareness of space exploration for the future.

“I believe our perception of life on this planet will change radically through space exploration and that will happen sooner than we know,” she said.

Through her work, the Dundalk native hopes to bridge the gap between science, technology, and art. “I try to straddle the two worlds, so the show is done in a very accessible way,” she said. “I’ll take people through what’s happened to date and hit on some of the bigger philosophical questions of space exploration.”

To Space features as part of the Curiosity Festival at Blackrock Castle Observatory on July 25 at 6pm.

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