Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Solstice caught on camera as sun stands still over Dunluce Castle

The romantic ruins of Dunluce Castle on the north Antrim coast were stunningly silhouetted in this photograph on the longest day of the year.

Teenage photographer Steven McAuley, from Ballycastle, captured the scene at 1am yesterday, June 21, when the sun had barely set.

“The sun never faded all night,” the 16-year-old said. “Talk about ‘the land of the midnight sun’ — you could see right across to Scotland, Rathlin island and Islay. It was crystal clear.

“I was surprised by the conditions because the weather forecast had predicted heavy rain. The castle was just as you see it. I set my camera up there and gave it a long exposure.”

Steven, whose father Kevin McAuley is a well-known local photographer, said he takes a lot of photos of the scenery around the summer solstice when there is virtually 24 hours of daylight on the coast.

The summer solstice takes place on June 21 in the northern hemisphere when the earth and moon is most tilted towards the sun.

The name solstice comes from Latin and means literally ‘sun stands still’.

The effect of the sun’s position means that the northern hemisphere of the earth has its longest day and shortest night.

The most enduring modern ties with the summer solstice were the Druids’ celebration of the day as the “wedding of heaven and earth”, resulting in the present day belief of a lucky wedding in June.

Today, the day is still celebrated around the world — most notably in England at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on June 21.

Breathtaking Dunluce Castle is one of the most photographed scenes in all of Ireland as it is perched precariously on the edge of a cliff overlooking the crashing waves of the Atlantic ocean.

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