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Total eclipse of the solar eclipse...with clouds 20.03.15

by Linda McGrory

BONNIE Tyler in the hit song 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' sang: "Turnaround, every now and then I get a little bit lonely that you're never coming round".
That's how it was in Inishowen as we feared the much-hyped solar eclipse would 'never come round'.
We turned around. We looked north, south and west even though we know the sun rises in the east.
We wanted what uber-excited astronomers described would be a veritable feast for suitably-protected eyes. We would see the sun being eaten by the moon. I had visions of Pac-Man in the Donegal skies.
And there was also the prospect of the sun with a nice, if fleeting, smile.
The very loud birdsong in Greencastle, Inishowen, during the solar eclipse of March 2015. Everything seemed bathed in black and white during the two-hour phenomenon.
It would, after all, be another eleven years until we would see its like again. ELEVEN years.
Timeline to the solar eclipse in Greencastle:
7.30am: The breakfast is eaten early; the cereal box lies in shreds as a safe viewing card with a pinhole is made.
7.40am: Daisy, the neighbourhood feral cat - she's called Sooty next door - enjoys being fed early. But she seems a bit agitated - didn't the wildlife people say the animals would act weird?
7.45am: I might as well put out extra bird seed - in case the resident robin, the goldfinches and those ninja brown ones that blend in with the wet leaves, need a feed before going off to act all weird in the darkness of the eclipse.
8.30am: People in Cork will be getting a good look at the eclipse now. Better take a look, in case it comes earlier than the predicted 9.22am here. Very cloudy - but I'm sure it'll lift. It has to - we won't see its like again for eleven years. ELEVEN years.
9.00am: It's definitely darker. And chillier. Better put on a fleece. Daisy, stop eating the bird seed! You see...weird animal behaviour.
9.10am: Still very cloudy...I'm sure it'll lift.
9.15am: The birds sound stranger than usual. They're singing very loudly - do I hear the two resident magpies communing with an owl...definitely think so.
9.16am: I hear some builders hammering on a new roof nearby...how can you not down tools when the rarest of rare phenomenon is about to happen...any...minute...now?
9.20am: Smartphone at the ready, check; regular camera at the ready, check; cereal box cut-out, check; colander hat, check; crazy cat, check.
9.22am: It's much darker, colder, eerier and, with the birds and the builders happily hammering away...louder.
9.30am: Sadly, no Pac-Man moment and no solar smiles. But at least we can boast that other Irish astronomical phenomenona total eclipse of the solar eclipse, with clouds. Now, where will I put those cornflakes?
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