Extra daylight means extra trouble for Irish parents

Thanks to Daylight Savings Time Ireland 'sprang ahead' over the weekend and reestablished the five hour lead over the east coast of America. Couldn't have you catching up, could we?

Now the sun sets an hour later, which is a good thing. Right?

It's particularly good if you're coming to Ireland during the summer. On those occasions when I've been traveling around Ireland during the summer months I've always loved how it's daylight to 10pm or later. I have clear memories of one weekend at a friend's house in Kerry when I was a student and really loving the evening sun at 10:30 at night. No better place on Earth.

But it's not all good news. The late sun is a real pain in the neck for parents.

Picture this: the air is warm, the sun is still pretty high in the sky and every kid in the neighborhood is out playing. It's a great scene. A great scene until ... a mother or father steps out of their front door and hollers out their child's name.

Within seconds a laughing face goes from curious to stunned to disbelief to wailing and gnashing of teeth. The child thinks it's around 6pm, but it's 9:15 and time for bed. And it's May 15 - there are still six weeks of school left, which means this scene will play out 30 more times before the school year ends.

The worst part, of course, is that there are always some kids whose parents leave them out until darkness falls. That means the 'incarcerated' lie in their beds stewing, listening to their liberated friends still out playing.

Of course, as May turns to June the sun sets even later making sleep even more elusive for the youngster. Parents yield more and more so that children who should be in bed by 8:30pm are still out playing at 9:45. They have to be shaken awake in the morning and head off to school only barely conscious. Teachers will tell you that they get practically nothing done in June because the children are just too tired.

It's all just part of what it is to live at 53 degrees north, I suppose. I live on the east coast and I'm sure it's even harder for those parents along the west of Ireland. They probably have trouble getting their children off to sleep much before 10:30.

I know tourists like that hour in the evening. Most local people do too. Yet I'm not alone in wishing it wasn't so. The battles ahead will be wearying. I've played this game for the last 15 years and have a few more ahead of me. I'd have been just as happy to leave that hour in the morning where it was.

{Photo: Dingle, Co. Kerry from Tourism Ireland.}

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