Ben Lowry: A slight sense of sadness as the days again begin to shorten

Once again we have passed that melancholy point in the calendar when the days begin to shorten.

Saturday, 26th June 2021, 12:04 pm
Updated Sunday, 27th June 2021, 12:52 pm
The sun sets on the shore of Strangford Lough, at Mount Stewart, County Down. The days are now getting shorter but in Northern Ireland the days are so long that it will be autumn before it begins to seem dark

This year on the summer solstice, Monday just past (June 21), I was helping to assemble our Northern Ireland centenary supplement of essays celebrating the 100 years, which were published on Tuesday (and which are online), and so I did not have much time to absorb this moment in the seasonal cycle until the early hours of June 22.

In a way Northern Ireland, with its gloriously long days of late spring and early summer, does not have to worry about the shortening days as much as other places.

From the spring equinox all the way to the autumnal one, we have more daily daylight than most parts of the inhabited world get to see in their own spring and summer months. Now that so many of us will be staying home through July and August, most people will be more concerned about whether it is warm and sunny over the coming two months than the fact that the sun will be setting slightly earlier each day.

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People view the stones during Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, where some people jumped over the fence to enter the stone-circle to watch the sun rise at dawn of the longest day in the UK. Picture date: Monday June 21, 2021

Even so, I think there is no time of the year quite so full of promise and life as late May and early June, when the vegetation is so lush, the days never seem to end, and when there is the prospect of ten happy weeks ahead. Thus the speed with which June 21 seems to keep coming round is never welcome.

Ben Lowry (@Benlowry2) is News Letter deputy editor

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