Unleashing the Enigma: Discovering the Fascinating World of Time in the Republic of Ireland

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Ireland observes Irish Standard Time (IST) during the summer months, which corresponds to UTC+01:00 (Irish: Am Caighdeánach Éireannach); and Greenwich Mean Time, also known as Meán-Am Greenwich which corresponds to UTC+00:00, during the winter period [1]. Remarkably, nearly two-thirds of the country lies in the 7.5°W to 22.5°W sector while the remaining one-third is located in the same sector as Greenwich, specifically 7.5° E to 7.5°W.

The Standard Time Act of 1968 established that the time for general purposes within the State shall be one hour ahead of Greenwich mean time throughout the year, despite most of the country being situated west of the 7.5°W meridian and belonging to the -1 time zone [2]. The act was amended by the Standard Time (Amendment) Act 1971, which legally established GMT as the winter time period [1]. Therefore, during the winter period, Ireland operates one hour behind standard time and reverts to standard time in the summer months. It is worth noting that while the other member states of the European Union observe one hour ahead of standard time during the summer period, they ultimately reach the same conclusion.

Transition to and from daylight saving time is synchronized across Europe. Winter time in Ireland begins at 02:00 IST on the final Sunday in October (moving clocks to 01:00 GMT), and ends at 01:00 GMT on the final Sunday in March (moving back to 02:00 IST) [3] [4]. Furthermore, the table below provides information on the near-future and past dates of Irish Standard Time or Irish Summer Time (DST beyond the year 2019 is currently under scrutiny) [observe below]:


Year Start End

2020 29 March 25 October

2021 28 March

The dates for time changes in the Republic of Ireland are as follows:

  • - October 31, 2022
  • - March 27 - October 30, 2023
  • - March 26 - October 29, 2024
  • - March 31 - October 27, 2025
  • - March 30 - October 26, 2026
  • - March 29 - October 25, 2027
  • - October 31

The history of time in Ireland dates back to before 1880 when local mean time was used as the legal time. A court case in 1858 established Curtis v. March as the legal precedent for time in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1880, the Statutes (Definition of Time) Act defined Dublin Mean Time as the legal time for Ireland, which was approximately 25 minutes and 21 seconds behind Greenwich Mean Time. However, after the Easter Rising, it was found that the time difference was inconvenient for telegraphic communication. The Time (Ireland) Act 1916 was passed to make Irish time the same as British time, effective from 2:00 am Dublin Mean Time on Sunday, October 1st, 1916. This was also the time when summer time was changed over to winter time across the United Kingdom. The changeover was opposed by John Dillon and T.M. Healy, who objected to the lack of consultation and the impact on the length of daylight and darkness.

Following its independence in 1922, the Irish Free State patterned its timekeeping after that of the United Kingdom to prevent disparate times across the border with Northern Ireland. Summer time was initially implemented through temporary legislation in 1923 and 1924, and then cemented by the Summer Time Act of 1925, which allowed for ministerial orders to adjust the default summer time period. Despite considering double summer time during World War II, it was ultimately not adopted, resulting in Northern Ireland being an hour ahead of the Republic of Ireland until 1947.

From 1968 to 1971, Ireland experimented with observing a year-round standard time of GMT +1 in preparation for joining the European Economic Community. However, this decision was ultimately reversed, and the standard time legislation of 1968 legally refers to summer time, while a separate winter time period of GMT was established in 1971. During this time, Ireland synced their time with the six EEC countries, with Italy being the only exception due to their switch to Central European Summer Time in the summer.

Since the 1980s, the European Union has synchronized the dates for switching from winter time to summer time. A comprehensive list of statutory instruments (SIs) issued under the Standard Time Acts can be found below. The SIs are categorized by year and SI-number, and links to the Irish Statute Database text of each SI are provided. Unless otherwise noted, SIs issued prior to 1967 under the 1925 Act were labeled as "Summer Time Order," while those issued from 1981 under the 1971 Act were labeled as "Winter Time Order." The following is a list of the SIs: 1926/(unnumbered), 1947/71, 1948/128, 1949/23, 1950/41, 1951/27, 1952/73, 1961/11, 1961/232 (Summer Time (No. 2) Order 1961), 1962/182, 1963/167, 1964/257, 1967/198, 1981/67, 1982/212, 1986/45, 1988/264, 1990/52, 1992/371, 1994/395, 1997/484, and 2001/506.

Potential Modifications [Edit]

In November of 2011, the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defense and Equality deliberated on potential adjustments to the customary Irish timekeeping,[23] but the government administration stated that they had no intention of altering the current system.[15] In November of 2012, a private member's bill was introduced by Tommy Broughan, which suggested a three-year trial of advancing time by one hour, implementing CET during winter and CEST during summer.[24] Discussion on this bill's second stage was adjourned on 5th July 2013, when the Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter, brought forward the issue, suggesting referring the matter to the joint committee for review, and recommending that they consult with the British Parliament and devolved assemblies.[25][26] In July 2014, the joint committee invited submissions on the bill.[27]

On the 8th of February 2018, the European Parliament voted to request the European Commission to reevaluate the concept of Summer Time in Europe.[28] After a web survey indicated a high level of support for maintaining a consistent time throughout the year,[29] the European Commission decided on the 12th of September 2018 to propose putting an end to seasonal clock adjustments (repealing Directive 2000/84/EC).[30] For this proposal to be approved, the European Union's legislative process must be followed, specifically requiring approval from both the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. On the 31st of January 2020, the United Kingdom departed from the EU, and if they continue to use summer/winter time, Northern Ireland will be out of coordination with the rest of Ireland or the United Kingdom for half of the year.[31] As this would add further complexities to the Irish border issue,[31] the Irish administration's likely response remains unclear. In November 2018, the Department of Justice and Equality held consultations on seasonal clock adjustments.[32] As of September 2018[update], the UK Government "has no plans" to end daylight saving.[33] In July of 2019, the Minister for Justice and Equality announced reluctance to abandon seasonal clock changes despite widespread support.[34] At the same time, an interdepartmental working group report on the proposal was released, along with submissions to the consultation on seasonal clock changes.

Seán Kelly, a member of the European Parliament, has been advocating for the discontinuation of bi-annual clock changes in the EU. However, he supports the idea of Ireland adopting year-round daylight saving time or Central European Time instead of its current Western European Time, which is closer to solar time.

Additional laws surrounding time in the Republic of Ireland include the fact that closing times for Irish pubs used to be half an hour later during summer time. In the year 2000, these hours were simplified by eliminating summer/winter time changes. Between 1933 and 1961, lighting-up time was one hour before/after sunrise/sunset in summer time versus a half-hour in winter time, but since 1961, it has been half an hour for all seasons. The definition of night for aviation also changed in 1967.

In the IANA time zone database, one zone for Ireland is listed in the file called zone.tab, named Europe/Dublin.


  • - Standard Time (Amendment) Act, 1971.

The Standard Time Act of 1968, passed in Ireland, established the national standard time and served as the country's implementation of coordinated universal time (UTC). The act included provisions for daylight saving time, which is observed from the last Sunday of March to the last Sunday of October each year. As a result, clocks in Ireland are set forward by one hour during this period.

A notable reference to time in Irish literature is James Joyce's Ulysses, in which various characters reference the time throughout the novel. Additionally, a legal case from 1858, Curtis v. March, dealt with the issue of standard time and whether it was enforceable by law in England.

Frank Watson Dyson, an astronomer, contributed to the development of standard time in Ireland, particularly with respect to the establishment of the Greenwich Mean Time. His work was published in The Observatory in 1916 and played an important role in the eventual adoption of standard time in Ireland.

The book "Time in History: Views of Time from Prehistory to the Present Day" by G.J. Whitrow (1989) provides information on the concept of time in human history. This book, published by Oxford University Press, contains an ISBN number 9780192852113. Additionally, the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland enacted an act in 1880 known as "An Act to remove doubts as to the meaning of Expressions relative to Time occurring in Acts of Parliament, deeds, and other legal instruments" (43 & 44 Victoria c.9). Trinity College Dublin website features an article titled "Dunsink and Time Keeping" by David Malone. The Time (Ireland) Act 1916 (6 & 7 Geo. 5. c. 45) was a law passed by the Irish parliament that established Daylight Saving Time in Ireland. An article on Century Ireland's website, written by Ben Shorten, offers insights into the origins of Daylight Saving Time in Ireland. The "Time (Ireland) Bill" is a parliamentary record found in Hansard, published on August 1st, 1916, that outlines the rationale, context and details of the aforementioned legislation.

The following sources provide information on the history of summer time in Ireland:

  • - A Hansard document from 1916 titled "Time (Ireland) Bill", which can be found at the link provided in reference [1].
  • - Dáil debates from March 27, 2012, which can be accessed in Volume 760, Number 3 on page 342, available at the link provided in reference [2].
  • - The Summer Time Act 1923, which is available on the Irish Statute Book website at the link provided in reference [3], with an archived version from October 22, 2013, available at the link provided in the same reference point.
  • - The Summer Time Act 1924, which can also be found on the Irish Statute Book website at the link provided in reference [4], with an archived version from October 22, 2013, also available at the same link provided in reference [4].
  • - The Summer Time Act 1925, which can be accessed at the link provided in reference [5], along with information on the Irish Attorney General who oversees this.
  • - Dáil debates from April 19, 1944, which can be found in Volume 93, Number 8 on page 11, available at the link provided in reference [6].

- "Guarding neutral Ireland: the Coast Watching Service and military intelligence, 1939–1945", a book by Michael J. Kennedy that can be found on Google Books through the link provided in reference [7], along with the book's ISBN number.

On March 30th, 2019, Luke Sproule authored an article entitled "Time zones: When Ireland had two" that was published on BBC News. The article can be accessed through the following link: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-47734003. Another article by Seanad debates was published on Vol. 111 No.13 p.6 c.1212-14 of Oireachtas, which can be found at http://debates.oireachtas.ie/seanad/1986/03/12/00006.asp. Additionally, on November 30th, 2011, the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality released a document discussing Autumn and Spring Time Adjustments. This document can be accessed through the following link: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/JUJ/2011/11/30/00007.asp. The Brighter Evenings Bill 2012, which is also known as Bill Number 96 of 2012, can be found at http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=22156&&CatID=59 on the Oireachtais website. The second stage of the Brighter Evenings Bill was also discussed on July 5th, 2013, and can be accessed through the following link: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/takes/dail2013070500013?opendocument. Moreover, on September 18th, 2013, a written answer discussing Daylight Savings was provided in Dáil debates. The written answer can be found through the following link: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/takes/dail2013091800111?opendocument#WRMMM03150. Lastly, on July 28th, 2014, the Oireachtas joint committee on Justice, Defence and Equality released a Microsoft Word document called "Invitation for submissions - Brighter Evenings Bill," which can be accessed through the following link: http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/committees/justice/Invitation-for-submissions---brighter-evenings-bill.docx.

The European Parliament recently voted to reconsider the practice of Daylight Saving Time (DST) in Europe, following a consultation in which 84% of participants expressed a desire to abandon clock changes. This proposal was put forth by the European Commission in September 2018. However, the potential switch could leave Northern Ireland out of sync with the rest of the UK. Ireland is also resistant to the proposed change, with officials opposing the end of seasonal clock changes. Nonetheless, MEP Sean Kelly believes it is high time to end the bi-annual clock change. Sources: www.timeanddate.com, Europa Press Release, Politico, Belfast Telegraph, and www.justice.ie.

An article by MEP Kelly proposes the implementation of summer time throughout the year. The Intoxicating Liquor Act of 1988, sections 25, 26, and 28, along with sections 4 and 5 of the 1995 amendment, have updated regulation on alcohol in Ireland. Further amendments to the act in 2000, section 2, have been made. The Road Traffic Act of 1933 updated its section 3 and was later replaced by the 1961 amendment. The Air Navigation (Rules of the Air) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order of 1967 is also relevant to the discussion. Europe's time zones in the tz database, according to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, have been last updated in 2020.

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