While we were sleeping…

watercolour painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of night sky

So the Professor dropped by last night.  He was wearing a luminous pink Hi-Vis jacket. “It’s dark by six”, he says, “now that they’ve put back the clocks.

And to think that the European Parliament voted to end Daylight Saving in 2019`- but luckily for us, they put it on hold because of the pandemic.  Because, d’you see: Daylight Saving is a good thing for Ireland”.

Even though I didn’t ask, he went on to inform me that the idea was first proposed in England in 1907 by William Willett (who happens to be the great-great-grandfather of Coldplay singer Chris Martin). He believed that valuable daylight was being wasted on summer mornings because people were still asleep in their beds.

photo by Fearghas Mac Lochlainn of sunrise in Spiddal
Éirí na Gréine, Sunrise in An Spidéal    photo: Fearghas Mac Lochlainn

“Indeed”, says I, “and it’s also great for artists to be able to work later on summer evenings without having to switch on the studio lights…”

He peered at me over his horn-rimmed glasses, perhaps momentarily impressed that I understood the complexities of latitudes, planetary revolutions, time, space and such (I don’t really, but I know that it’s bright about 15 minutes longer in An Spidéal than here in Dublin and that, if we were to stay in summertime during the winter, it would be dark there in the morning until almost 10am – and that certainly wouldn’t be good…

“It’s because we’re situated about 50 degrees north of the Equator”, he continued, “and only 15 degrees south of the Arctic circle.  At this latitude, the difference in length between a winter’s day and a summer’s day is huge. A day in June is about 17 hours long while a day in December is less than 8 hours.  It’s the location, d’you see, location, location, location”.

“If you want longer days in winter”, says I, “you should move further South”.

painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of star in the night sky

And anyway, the thing is: wintertime is the real time; they move the clocks forward for the summer.  And isn’t it wonderful to see ‘the grand stretch’ in the evenings when they do that.  Worth waiting for, in my opinion.

“Agreed”, says the Professor, “but do you know what would be even better?  Two hours forward in the summer!  Yes, one hour in say, April, a second hour in June, then back one hour in August and back a second hour in October.  Or maybe we should do it in half hours, let’s see now…”

Hmmm, perhaps time to mention the images on this post. The sunrise photo was taken by my brother Fearghas in An Spidéal (very early in the morning). The painting at the top was from my solo exhibition Is glas iad na Cnoic at the Olivier Cornet Gallery in 2021. The second painting was from the exhibition Dídean/ Home in Cultúrlann in Belfast in 2013.  Yes, even back then, I loved to view the sky at night… Don’t you?


short film about the exhibition in Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich




  1. … really love the sense of deep blue from “is glas iad na cnoic” …

    …. impressed and NOT just momentarily ! ciao, Maev

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A lovely post again Eoin. Both images are beautiful. I think your friend’s idea of changing the clocks would be better for our body clocks but I fear it would confuse too many people.
    Niamh McG/W


  3. Suimiúl grma agus íomhánna deasa. I remember how much more of the night sky was visible in the West but suspect that was because of less city light pollution. One teenage night in August perhaps on Inis Oírr we saw so many shooting stars we stopped looking at them!

    You could have combined that post with a reference to the Sunburst flag of the Fianna Éireann and to the harper Connelan’s air Fáinne Geal an Lae, built on and used in a number of patriotic ballads and to give the rhythm to Patrick Kavanagh’s poem The Dawning of the Day, in turn being sung to the modified air. Of course socialists have also adopted the ‘morning star’ (Venus) to herald the coming of a new day in history.

    Liked by 1 person

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