The sun rises in the East and sets in the West……. No, it does not.  It is true as a general rule but it is not strictly correct and our ancestors were very aware of this.  There are only two days in the year when the sun perfectly rises in the East and sets in the West.  The rest of the time it rises and sets in different positions that vary quite a bit.  This strange wandering of our sun is actually due to us moving around the sun and the fact that the earth is spinning at a tilt.  The tilt explains the seasons; where the winter is due to us pointing away from the sun and the summer is due to us pointing towards the sun.

In the middle of the winter the sun sets in the South-West and seems to spend very little time in the sky giving us only seven hours of daylight and nearly fifteen hours of night.  This day is the shortest and is called the Winter Solstice.

The middle of the summer has its own special day; the Summer Solstice.  The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year and the sun seems to have a huge arching path across the sky, finally setting in the North-West.

Not to be left out are the Spring and the Autumn.  In the middle of these seasons we have the Equinoxes.  These days are days of equal daylight and night and on these days the sun obeys the myth and sets in the West.

These days were very significant in the timekeeping of our ancestors:

Spring Equinox – 20th or 21st March

Summer Solstice – 20th or 21st June

Autumn Equinox – 22nd or 23rd September

Winter Solstice – 21st or 22nd December

These were times of festival and gatherings and echoes of these occasions still exist in our Christian calendar in the form of Christmas and Easter (the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox).

Interestingly the days in the middle of these Solstices and Equinoxes seemed to be more important in the ancient calendar; the days that marked the changes of the seasons:


These days are still important festivals for us in the form of Halloween, May day and Lammas day.

So, what about the local people of Doagh, did they follow the calendar of the sun?  There is a stone which stands over the Six Mile Valley and has seen sixteen thousand seasons pass over it.  The stone has a hole which points to Donegore hill and the setting of the giant man in the sky (Orion) four thousand years ago.  The stone has a curious shape with a curved point.  It is my prediction (a compass and computer software helped with this prediction) that if you stand at the Holestone with Donegore hill lined up through the hole and you watch the sun set on either the Spring or the Autumn Equinox, you will see the sun touch the curved point of the Holestone and seem to roll down its back.

Predicted view at holestone with hole centered on Donegore Hill at Spring or Autumn Equinox

Only observing it can confirm it to be true.  I’ll make a note on my calendar.

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