In July 1999 the club moved to a more pernament venue at the Atlanta Hotel in Dominick Street and held a series of higly succesful public events at the Westside carpark. Firstly in early 1999 the club held a planet watch as Jupiter and Saturn made a rare conjuntion in the evening sky to be followed on August 11 by an Solar eclipse watch.
Over 400 people attended this event and was a huge boost for the astronomy club. Because of the high density populated in the areas of the path, there is little doubt that this was the most viewed total solar eclipse in human history and the first visible Ireland in the since 1927. The morning started wet and cloudy but by the time of near totality at 11.11am almost 98% of the Solar disc was covered by the Moon and visible to the naked eye through cloud to the delight of the many onlookers who came to view the spectacle.
In 2001 the club held its first daytrip when 25 members took part in a trip to Birr Castle, subsequent trips in the following years visited Newgrange, Armagh Planetarium, The Ceide Fields and a visit to the ancestral home of John Birmingmam in Tuam. (see History section
By this time meetings became more structured and several people from NUI Galway including Professor Mike Redfern came and gave us an wonderful insight to the world of Astronomy. In 2003 the idea of holding a one day astronomy conference similar to the Whirlpool Starparty was discussed and the Connaught Starparty was born. the first event in January 2004 was a major success with over 120 amateur astronomers from around Ireland attending. Talks from that event will shortly be available online.
Also in the same year hundreds of people driving torwards Galway witnessed a fiery spectacle in the twilight sky. It was February 12th when at 7.10am a huge fireball was seen in the sky over the city. Precise sightings were made by two people in Galway, one on the right hand side of Galway airport and the other on the left hand side of the Tuam road. The then club chairman Martin Quirke told the Galway Advertiser the fireball probably entered the earth’s atmosphere at roughly 100,000mph and started glowing about 100 miles above Ireland. Other radio interviews were held that day to somewhat confused Galway City residents.
The following morning the front page of local papers were dominated by this story and to eventual landing site. In the end nothing was found and was thought it landed somewhere in Galway Bay. Several people contacted the club and brought along unusual looking rocks to club meetings but these were not of cosmic origin.