The Times They Are A-Changing

With the recent time change in March from ‘winter’ time to ‘summer’ time, it is easy to notice the evenings beginning to stretch, and the sun popping up earlier and earlier in the mornings too. For most people, it tends to lift the mood also, as they tend to have more to look forward to with the longer days and the prospect of upcoming summer holidays. However, when considering the time changes and the evenings becoming stretchier, I have had a feeling at the back of my mind saying “But… evenings were stretchier in Ireland”. To me, this feels like a form of jet-lag. However, this is not traditional jet-lag. Normal jet-lag is where the body is thrown off by a sudden change in multiple time zones. This results in the circadian rhythm of the body being out of line for a few days at least. However, the jet-lag that I experience is more what you might call geographical jet-lag with a long time delay built in for good effect.

To explain further, with Ireland being on the GMT time-zone and Poland on GMT+1, the one hour time difference was never going to cause too much trouble. However, I originally come from the western part of Ireland and am now living in Kraków. With Kraków being (generally) in the eastern part of Poland, I have slowly begun to realise the differences in timing of days based on the times of sunrise and sunset. This is where I have felt my form of jet-lag.

As you can see in the below graph (found at Gaisma), at the peak of summer between VI and VII, the sun begins to rise in Kraków before 4 am and darkness finally hits at about 9.30pm. (Alternatively, of course, in winter this means the sun rising at 7am and it being dark by 4.30pm).

Gaisma Krakow

“It’s always sunny…”

However, in Galway in the west of Ireland (as in the below graph), mid summer sees dawn at about 4.15am but the sun does not fully set until almost 11pm. This means that Galway also receives more sunlight than Kraków.

Gaisma Galway

“… except when it’s dark”

I have memories from  my youth of gloriously long summer evenings in Ireland. Some especially exceptional ones  include a few by the seaside in Galway when watching the red fiery ball of a sun sinking into the sea in the west at about 10.30pm. Alternatively, I have remembered sunlight hurting my eyes at 4.30am in the morning in Poland.


“Sitting on the dock of the bay…”

I should admit that I am more of a ‘night owl’ than an ‘early bird’ and I tend to operate in zombie mode for an hour or two in the morning until I properly wake up. So having talked about the time changes and differences, it’s easy to see why I like to have a longer evening. But being a night owl means I can enjoy the long winter nights just as well! I’m sure the little differences are something I’ll adjust to over time.

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5 thoughts on “The Times They Are A-Changing

  1. Weirder still western Spain shares the same time zone as Poland, yet it lies further west than Land’s End, England. Indeed Galicia (the Spanish one, not the one that Kraków was once part of) is as far west as much of Ireland’s Atlantic coast.

    My gripe about time is about the assymetry of the time changes.

    We move the clocks back an hour two months before winter solstice, yet bring them forward an hour three months after winter solstice. Equalising the time change to two months before/two months after would give us a brighter, sunnier, happier and safer March across the northern hemisphere…

  2. Decoy says:

    Yep, I had considered using the example of Vigo in north-west Spain as an even stronger example, but I thought I would stick to what I knew using personal examples.

  3. Bartek says:

    I prefer the Western part of CET zone. Sunlight hours better overlap the hours of human acitivity. Almost no one gets up at 4 a.m. but most people are not yet in bed at 10 p.m. Putting the sunrise and sunset one hours forward would surely help save on electricity.

    I know dark is in a way exciting but we should be slightly more practical in our decisions – the sunlight is what we get for free, it is the reason why it’s wise not to waste it.

  4. Norman says:

    “Putting the sunrise and sunset one hours forward would surely help save on electricity”

  5. Marta says:

    I don’t care for “stretchier” summer evenings in Ireland – what’s the point when weather is usually gloomy/windy/rainy anyway? ;) True, last week was absolutely brilliant, but I strongly suspect that it was all the summer we’re getting this year!

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