Five Photos Five Stories Challenge Day Three | Irish Sunset

sunset2

You will know by now that I am partial to a beautiful sunset, particularly if it is one which can be enjoyed from the comfort of my own garden, preferably with a glass of Prosecco or Bulmers in hand.

To our ancient Irish ancestors, sunset was considered the start of the day, not the end of it. They certainly considered the sun as an important source of energy, not only in practical terms with regard to the seasons and growth of crops, but perhaps also in mystical and ritual terms.

The darkest time of year, the winter, when the sun is at its lowest and weakest, was the start of their year, in the way that the dark of night began their day.

Their four major festivals, Imbolc (Feb 1st), Bealtaine (May 1st), Lughnasadh (Aug 1st) and Samhain (Nov 1st), celebrated the turning of the seasons with the lighting of huge fires, perhaps in honour of the life-giving warmth and energy of the sun.

The sun’s movements also gave rise to four other sacred occasions on the Irish Celtic calender; both equinoxes, when day and night are thought to be of equal length, and the solstices, when the sun reaches its highest and lowest position in the sky.


I was nominated to take part in this photo challenge by Sue Vincent, who takes the most beautiful images and always has a story to tell about them. I would like to nominate author and poet most extraordinaire, Jane Dougherty, to take part in this challenge.

The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!


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26 thoughts on “Five Photos Five Stories Challenge Day Three | Irish Sunset

    1. Sadly, Irish people know very little about this stuff. But its my passion, so I find stuff out. My plan is ultimately to go into schools as a visiting author and bring it all to the kids. Teachers seem quite open to the idea. I’ve done one, which went down really well, but I learned that I have a lot to work on before I do the next one.

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  1. Beautiful story, Ali. 🙂 It occurred to me while reading that seeds spend time under ground before sprouting, and we all need to reflect and dream before shining what we create to share with others out into the world. The sun and the seasons model the same pattern. How much more would rest or renewal be valued in our hurried, harried culture if we understood the beginning is always in the inward stillness, the bringing to be, and doesn’t simply appear with its manifestation or in a product or a result. You’ve got to honor the dawn and the light that let’s you navigate the world, but I often reflect on what you said about our ancestors seeing the sunset as the beginning of the day. Whether or not they had a more factual explanation for sunsets, perhaps in the ebbing light they recognized the need for the light to renew itself, dream itself awake as it were, in order then to rise.

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    1. I think that life comes from darkness, in the earth and in the womb. Life is born into light. The darkness isnt a bad thing to be feared. It just represents the mystery of our origins, the unknown, the miracle. So their day started with the darkness, and their year started in the darkest time of winter. I think its just naturally the cycle they viewed it all with. Thats the practical side, but I think you’re right that in our inner darkness the seeds of knowledge and awareness take root and grow so bringing enlightenment. And both need each other.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, it does seem strange to us, doesn’t it? But it explains things like why Halloween is celebrated on the evening of Oct 31st… originally, it was celebrated as the festval of Samhain, and for them, it was the beginning of Nov 1st.

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  2. Thanks for thinking of me, Ali! WordPress has stopped sending me regular notifications from your blog. I just popped in to see what happened to the mythology monday spot and found this instead. I love the idea of sunset being the start of the day, light coming out of darkness. It seems so hopeful! I’ll have to find some pics.

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    1. I know how you inspired you are by pictures, and I was thinking of your cloud pictures. I didnt do mythology monday this week because of all these. Quite often my monday mythology slots are slipping into wednesday or thursday these days…

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    2. I think that has happened to me too. Not getting emails for some blogs I follow. Must check settings. Last year they all stopped completely! Hapiness engineers werent much help… no idea how the glytch happened. I had to amend each one individually in my settings… took bloody ages!

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