Limerick sun worshippers set to soak up summer solstice

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Historian Michael Quinlan and archaeoastronomer Dr Frank Prendergast
Historian Michael Quinlan and archaeoastronomer Dr Frank Prendergast

SINCE Neolithic times large numbers have gathered at the Grange Stone Circle on June 21 to watch the sun rise and mark the longest day of the year.

This tradition is still alive and well today. And, this Saturday, for the summer solstice, sun worshippers will flock to Lough Gur and celebrate the first day of summer.

Local archaeoastronomer Dr Frank Prendergast has also revealed that those wishing to enjoy the magic of being located within the Great Stone Circle for the June solstice, can also observe two preceding nighttime celestial wonders — weather permitting, of course.

“At around 3am, the rising moon will be in its last quarter or phase and be visible in the east. Soon afterwards, our brightest planet Venus, or ‘morning star’, will also rise in the east around 5am,” Mr Prendergast explained.

“At 5.15 am, the spectacle of sunrise will commence and herald daybreak on the so-called longest day of the year,” he enthused.

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They take their summer solstice celebrations seriously in Lough Gur. In fact, the festivities will be no meagre one-day adventure but a marathon six-day feast of activities. The sun-worshipping carnival, which kicked off this Wednesday, June 18, will continue through until Monday June 23 as part of the six-day Summer Solstice Festival.

A Family Fun Day will take place at Lough Gur on Sunday with Jon Kenny and Mary McEvoy taking to the stage at the Honey Fitz Theatre on Monday, June 23 at 8pm. Full details at www.loughgur.com.