Hundreds of shooting stars per hour visible as ethereal display hits its summer peak.Flickr / Dave Dugdale

Irish stargazers across the country witnessed hundreds of shooting stars as the annual Perseid meteor shower peaked.

Those in the midlands and the north of Ireland had the best views in the area, as cloud cover meant limited visibility across England and Scotland. The spectacle was regularly visible across the US also, especially in areas with little light pollution. This year the shooting stars coincided with a new moon for the first time since 2007.

The annual meteor show occurs every year between July 17 and August 24. This year Wednesday and Thursday night saw the showers peak for this year with hundreds of shooting stars visible every hour. The display was also joined briefly by the man-made star, the International Space Station (ISS). President of the Society for Popular Astronomy told the Irish Mirror “The thing about shooting stars is they're a wonderful free spectacle we can all enjoy, assuming clear skies.

"The Perseid are usually fairly bright. Also, they tend to leave a trail, or train, behind them. You can see the train hanging there glowing in the sky for a few seconds - sometimes for several minutes - after the meteor has gone."

This amazing display of shooting stars is the result of particles, as small as a grain of sand, entering the Earth's atmosphere at high speed and burning up. The Perseid meteor show is radiant and occurs in the north-east constellation of Perseus.

This spectacular video shows the Perseid over the skies of New Mexico on the morning of August 12: