Getting a glimpse of the Northern Lights is little more than a dream for most people.

But that dream became a reality for the people of Inishowen, at the northern tip of County Donegal, when they witnessed Aurora Borealis in all its glory.

Conditions were perfect for the spectacular display, with little or no cloud to block out the lights.

And hundreds of sky-gazers flocked to the northern coast to gaze at the skies ablaze with striking colored lights.

The Northern Lights is a natural phenomenon that can paint the sky with unearthly, surreal colors.

To observers at far-northern latitudes, including northern parts of Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Iceland and northern parts of Scandinavia, they are a frequent occurrence.

But in winter months, the awesome cosmic light show is visible on several occasions in Irish skies, particularly those in northern Donegal in the north-west of the country.

In the past two months, there have been three sightings of the famed lights, which are notoriously difficult to predict until the night in question.

Astronomy Ireland has said this year and next mark the prime years of the aurora's 11-year cycle, resulting in more sightings of the Northern Lights in Irish skies.

And those who were lucky enough to see last night's spectacularly clear display in Inishowen said it was something they will never forget.

Local photographer Rita Wilson said:  "I could see the rays of red and it's something I will never forget."

Rita's breathtaking shots can be seen on her Facebook page at Rita Wilson Photography.

* Originally published in 2014.