This is probably my favourite day of the year.
Midwinter, the Winter Solstice, or as we Celts call it – Grianstad an Gheimhridh.
What I like about it is the simple knowledge that the days aren’t getting any shorter. I know this evening will be just as dark as yesterday, but just knowing that tomorrow will be just that fraction lighter cheers me.
I know that the worst of the Winter weather probably still lies ahead but the fact remains that we are now slowly climbing out of the valley into Summer once more. The other day I noticed that the snowdrops are peeking up amongst the weeds, dead leaves and dog shite which is another nice sign. Next it will be the Daffydowndillies, crocuses and Tulips, with a bit of luck.
Of course here in Ireland all eyes turn to Newgrange on the solstice, where the rising sun illuminates the chamber on this morning. What isn’t generally known is that there are many examples of Bronze Age engineering that provide the same effect.
Here in Head Rambles Manor we have an excellent example. I was up before dawn this morning to witness the event, and for once we had one up on Newgrange as they were clouded in but we had clear skies. It was a very emotional moment as the tip of the sun rose above the horizon and for just a few moments illuminated the pile of old gin bottles and rusty baked bean cans at the bottom of the garden. One has to admire the incredible engineering and knowledge of astronomy behind this phenomenon. I would have photographed the event, but I forgot to charge the batteries in my camera.
Maybe next year?