Look into the light
Today is the day of the year we are assured that light triumphs over dark and the sun conquers night.
It's Midsummer's Day, an ancient festival that somehow, in the modern world, we have forgotten to accord its true importance, as a day of hope, and growth, and light. Our ancestors knew the harvest was approaching, but in today's world that doesn't have the importance it once did.
Financial, economic and political difficulties are weighing on most of us, but what is the summer for, if not to bring the light?
Today is a good opportunity to take a break from the doom and gloom and be mindful of the good things in life. Why not make Midsummer a time to open your mind?
The team behind Cork Midsummer Festival have this year put together a programme that is broad, appealing, and involves an enormous cross-section of the local community and of the national and international arts community.
For weeks now, we have been seeing glimpses of what's in store, with photos of various productions including the epic, multilayered opera Pagliacci, and yesterday, a clip of the cast in action being released.
And what action it is. You don't have to be an opera fan to feel your spine tingle when Cork's most respected singer Cara O'Sullivan's voice soars, and you don't have to be a fine art expert to appreciate the workmanship and design talent behind the costumes and set design, as seen in the photos already released.
It's going to be a sumptuous production, and in the truest spirit of art it includes performances by professionals at the top of their game like O'Sullivan, and by local performers including a host of local children.
If that sounds rather high brow for you, think of all the other happenings around Cork that are going on this weekend or over, for better or worse, what we call the summer.
There are so many events going on that will take you out of your comfort zone, and take you into your city or county in a way you've never experienced before.
Challenge your own boundaries by signing up to the Cork World Bodypainting Record Attempt on 28 July and appearing naked - if painted - in front of hundreds of strangers. If nudity is your great boundary pusher, the Dip in the Nip in aid of Breakthrough Cancer Research takes place this Sunday 24 June.
You could appreciate the strengths - and limitations - of your own body by signing up to one of many non-competitive sporting events to be held around the county over the next month or so. The Blackwater Kayak Challenge in aid of the Mercy Hospital Foundation takes place on Sunday 1 July; Sail Spree takes place this weekend, when you can try on-the-water activities for free; and the Vibes & Scribes Lee Swim takes place on Sunday 14 July.
Or you could test the limitations of your understanding by attending one of the 'Cork: A Curious City' events being co-hosted by UCC and CIT to explore science and the arts.