June 21

So it's the longest day of the year today.....

Summer solstice

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Reporter:

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Sunrise

Summer Solstice Sunrise

So today is officially the longest day of 2017 - and we don't just mean because it's a Wednesday and the middle of the working week either!

The Summer Solstice fell this morning in Ireland at 5.24am - no, we weren't up for it either but judging by today's clouds, we didn't miss anything.

But have you ever wondered just why we mark the Summer Solstice? Well here are some things you may not know about the Summer Solstice.

Why is today the solstice?

Today marks the peak of sunlight hours in the Northern Hemisphere in 2017 where, because of the tilt in the earth's axis, this is the the period where we have the most exposure to the Sun. Contrary to popular opinion, the longest day doesn't always fall on June 21, it can vary between June 20, 21, or 22 of any given year.

So how many hours sunlight can we expect today?

Well, if you were in Spain or Portugal or even England, I'd say quite a lot, but this is Ireland and it's typically cloudy so theoretically we should see 11-12 hours of sunlight, but you won't really notice this because of the clouds. Sorry.

Where does the word solstice come from?

The word solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because the seasonal movement of the Sun's path (as seen from Earth) momentarily comes to a stop before reversing direction.

So what festivals are happening today?

The first of the major festivals is Body & Soul Festival 2017 in Clonmellon, Co Westmeath. This is a camping festival which features theatrical performances, music and lots more in the stunning woodland grounds of Ballinlough Castle, Co. Westmeath.  

Cork Midsummer Festival
Cork Midsummer Festival is an annual arts festival at a variety of venues across the city for audiences of all ages.  There will be something for everyone on the banks of the River Lee.

Midsummer Arts Festival 2017

In Kildare, the towns of Naas and Sallins have combined forces to present Midsummer Arts Festival 2017. The programme includes busking, street art, family events, music and performance.  

Wellness -Rejuvenate Ireland
And to ensure that you are in tip-top condition to enjoy all that Ireland has to offer this midsummer, head to Rejuvenate Ireland in Ferrycarrig on today. This day-long event starts with yoga workshop in the morning.  Furthermore, in the evening, talks from many experts and sports personalities will help us to manage stress in our busy lives.