63% of Irish People Not in Favour of ‘Daylight Saving’
When you turned the clocks back this weekend, you carried on a tradition that is now 100 years old. The concept of ‘daylight saving’ was introduced in Ireland under British rule a century ago. But according to Irish lighting company Solus, 63% of Irish people would prefer if the practice was abolished.
When daylight saving kicks off:
-35% will feel glum
– 28% cited contentment with cosy nights in by the fire (shut up positive people)
-10% couldn’t care less either way
-9% will even be excited as Christmas is just around the corner
-8% will be downright grumpy
-5% will be in a bit of a tizzy with so much to do before Christmas
-4% will be confused – what time is it now?
-1% will look forward to romance and candlelit cuddles.
When asked why the clocks go back, 83% of respondents cited day light saving and to benefit school children, energy efficiency and community, 13% believe it is to signal the end of summer, 1% quite rightly mentioned it is because William Willet wanted to play more golf! It was, in fact, the great-great-grandfather of Coldplay rocker Chris Martin – William Willet – that pushed the concept of ‘daylight saving’ in 1907 and he actually was a keen golfer.
Willett lived most of his life in Chislehurst, Kent, where, it is said, after riding his horse in Petts Wood near his home early one summer morning and noticing how many blinds were still down, the idea for daylight saving time first occurred to him.
This was not the first time that the idea of adapting to daylight hours had been pushed. It was common practice in the ancient world. (Modern DST was first proposed by New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson).
Using his own financial resources, in 1907 William published a pamphlet called “The Waste of Daylight.” In it he proposed that the clocks should be advanced by 80 minutes in four incremental steps during April and reversed the same way during September. The evenings would then remain light for longer, increasing daylight recreation time and also saving £2.5 million in lighting costs. He suggested that the clocks should be advanced by 20 minutes at a time at 2 am on successive Sundays in April and be slowed by the same amount on Sundays in September.
Through vigorous campaigning, by 1908 Willett had managed to gain the support of a member of parliament (MP), Robert Pearce, who made several unsuccessful attempts to get it passed into law. A young Winston Churchill promoted it for a time, and the idea was examined again by a parliamentary select committee in 1909 but again nothing was done.
The outbreak of the First World War made the issue more important primarily because of the need to save coal. Germany had already introduced the scheme when the bill was finally passed in Britain on 17 May 1916 and the clocks were advanced by an hour on the following Sunday, 21 May, enacted as a wartime production-boosting device under the Defence of the Realm Act. It was subsequently adopted in many other countries.
At the time, Ireland was part of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland so daylight saving applied to us as well.
William Willett did not live to see daylight saving become law, as he died of influenza in 1915 at the age of 58. He is remembered in Petts Wood by a memorial sundial, which is always set on DST (Daylight Saving Time).
Whether we like it or not, daylight savings make mornings slightly lighter and evenings darker. There are currently about 70 countries that participate in Daylight Saving Time, though not necessarily on the same schedule as Ireland. Ireland is located in the Greenwich Mean Time zone, sharing the same time as Great Britain, Iceland, Portugal, and some countries in northwest Africa. In Ireland, the maximum 17 hours of sunlight – on the longest day in June (the summer solstice) – dwindles to just seven hours and 30 minutes six months later in December (the winter solstice).
However you feel about daylight savings time, it seems it is here to stay. You may need to get extra close to the streetlights on your evening walk around the block.
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