Irish stargazers were treated to a summer spectacular on Monday night as the Perseids meteor shower lit up the skies.

Thousands of stargazers cast their eyes to the heavens in what the Irish Independent described as a ‘natural firework display’.

The amateur astronomers were treated to a spectacular show of shooting stars, a result of the material falling from the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle.

The Perseids meteor shower is an annual event between mid-July and mid-August but Monday was the best night for viewing this year with as many as 60 meteors an hour visible to the naked eye.

Astronomer and science writer Dr David Whitehouse told the BBC the spectacle was breathtaking.

He said: “The light from a shooting star is like no other type of light in the sky. It's not starlight, it's not moonlight, it's not sunlight. It has a ghostly sliver and a sleeting brilliance all of its own.”

Britain’s Royal Astronomical Society said the Moon was in a waxing crescent, meaning its light did not significantly interfere with the view.

And clear skies over large swathes of Ireland also helped visibility for the stargazers.

Comet Swift-Tuttle last passed near the Earth in 1992 and will not visit again until the year 2125.

Twitter was also ablaze with reports of the star show.

@VickiMcMuffin wrote: “Lost count of the amount of meteors & fireballs I've seen. It's been one of the best showers in years. Weather perfect too”, while Alexandra Starr tweeted: “so far about 60 over wisbech, lovely show tonight”.

However @NuttyTabatha tweeted: “Number of meteors: None. Number of planes mistaken for meteors: Three!!!!”
Here's the BBC report on the shower: