I live in a mid-sized town (population 22,000, more or less) in what is defined as a rural area. And it is bright and noisy.
Why am I talking about this? Because I'm in Ireland, in a small house on a windswept hill, the same place we stayed on our last trip. And at night it's dark. There are no street lights—heck, there are barely streets, only half-paved lanes, and no one just happens to drive by. No light pollution. You can see the lights of a few neighbors, but they may be a mile away. Likewise, it's quiet: no cars, no trains, no airplanes above. There might be a dog barking over the hill, or a restless cow lowing somewhere if it's summer and they're out in the fields. We did once stay at a bed and breakfast where they had three thousand sheep, and the chorus by day was fascinating—who knew there were so many variations on "baa"? But they were quiet at night.