Summer Solstice celebrations date back to ancient Ireland, over 5,000 years ago and it's still celebrated today! Here's how to mark the longest day of the year the Irish way.

The Summer Solstice is celebrated across the globe for varying spiritual reasons. You may be most familiar with Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument in England that is a popular location to celebrate.

Ireland sees it as a midsummer festival and a time to celebrate historical sites, the arts, and culture. Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year and is an indicator of the summer season’s arrival.

The importance of Summer Solstice ties back to ancient Celtic society’s reliance on agriculture and crops. The reliance and appreciation for the sun is what brought people closer to nature and furthered the understanding of the environment.

Through suffering and hardships during the winter months, the Solstice became an important celebration for success and ease during the summer.

The celebration of the Summer Solstice in Ireland is tied to their ancient landmarks. Ireland has one of the most prominent Neolithic sites known as Newgrange. It dates back to 5,000 years ago and is a popular tourist location. In the same area in County Meath, there is the Hill of Tara which has deep links to Irish folklore and is a popular location to celebrate the solstice.

The Hill of Tara

The Hill of Tara

Midsummer festivals and bonfires have been a tradition in Ireland since pagan times and it continues to thrive. Before environmental concerns over fumes from bonfires brought in certain rules, communities across Ireland would light a flame in celebration of the day. The tradition still lives on throughout Ireland with a few restrictions of times of day when bonfires are allowed.   

This year, Summer Solstice falls on Saturday, 20 June, at 22:43. There are tons of ways you can celebrate the longest day of the year and delve into the Irish culture, even if you are not in Ireland.

- Have a party and invite people to celebrate it the Irish way with bonfires, good food, and delving into the Irish culture.

- Visit your local Irish center or arts center.

- Feast on a big Irish meal filled with meat, potatoes, and veggies.

- Listen to some traditional music in your local pub.

- Embrace the culture and try a new something new. How about some Irish dancing lessons or music lessons?

Usually, across the United States and Ireland, there are different events dedicated to Summer Solstice that encompass a variety of cultures and different ways of celebrating the day.

* Originally published in 2018. Updated in 2021.