“He kept his working day to what it would have been under Dublin Mean Time….”

Did you know that in Victorian Ireland, after the big railway companies came…

…standardised time zones covering much larger areas were created including, in 1880, Dublin Mean Time.

This was the local mean time at Dunsink Observatory outside Dublin, which was about 25 minutes and 21 seconds behind GMT.

In 1916 Ireland switched to GMT to fall into line with the rest of the UK.

Dublin Mean Time may have been officially abolished, but not everyone moved with the times, according Peter Leary, vice-chancellor’s research fellow in history at Oxford Brookes University.

He discovered testimony from a Donegal farmer called Alexander Bryce, speaking to the Irish Boundary Commission which was set up after Ireland was partitioned in 1921.

“He kept his working day to what it would have been under Dublin Mean Time.

“This became an issue when the border was created, because of customs posts. He had to deal with bureaucracy on a daily basis.

“The customs posts closed at 17:00 [Northern Ireland time] so he had to go about things much earlier in the day.”

This was exacerbated because of the introduction of daylight savings time in the UK, so in the summer farmer Bryce would have been an hour and 25 minutes behind rather than just 25 minutes.

If he wanted to bring goods back from Derry to Donegal he would have to make sure he would make it to the customs post by 15:35 (according to the time he kept).

With thanks to BBC NI. Read it all.

Photo by Jon Tyson is licensed under CC0