Spring forward, fall back as they try to remember which way to turn the dial tends to be the extent of the average person’s knowledge of the biannual clock change.

But why do we frantically try to remember to change our clocks twice a year? Does it happen worldwide? And who came up with this idea in the first place?

When do the clocks change in Ireland in 2019?
Daylight saving time 2019 in the Republic of Ireland began at 01:00 on Sunday, 31 March and ends this Sunday, 27 October at 02:00.

When do the clocks change elsewhere?
Under EU law all 28 member states all clocks go back in on the last Sunday in October and go forward in the last Sunday of March.

In America and Canada, the clocks change at 2am local time on the second Sunday of March and the first Sunday in November.

The clocks went forward at 01:00 on Sunday, 31 March, 2019 and will fall back at 02:00 on Sunday, 27 October. 

Why do they change?
The clocks change in order to make the best use of the natural light as the earth orbits the sun changing its exposure.

So in winter, when it’s naturally darker, time goes back by an hour which means an extra hour wrapped up in bed.

However, in summer, we enjoy the championed ‘grand stretch in the evenings’ as the clocks being put forward an hour makes for longer evenings.

The impact of the change in clocks varies with countries further from the equator who experience more hours of darkness benefitting most from the system.

Where did it all start?
Back in 1895, a New Zealander named George Hudson supposedly came up with the basis of the idea to give him more time for hobbies after work.

By altering the clock by 2 hours the scientist hoped that he would be able to spend more time outside in the evening foraging for insects. 

Closer to home, a British man named William Willett backed by Winston Churchill suggested the idea to make the most of the natural light.

He wanted more time to enjoy the outdoors in the evenings and told the British government that Londoners were wasting much of the summer light asleep.

The British government didn’t listen and his idea was rejected.

The idea came up again shortly after his death as countries tried to reduce their demand for coal in World War 1 by gaining more daylight hours.

While his own country was slow to take up on his idea after his death the Germans decided to try it out in 1916 to allow for more light while they worked.

The idea quickly spread to other European countries, Russia and the United States. 

However, after the war, many counties abandoned the idea but the tradition continued in Ireland, parts of Europe, Canada, and the US.

Many EU countries see changing the clocks as a nuisance. 

Why could this be ending soon?
The European Parliament has voted to end the practice of daylight saving in 2021 as many EU countries see it as a nuisance. 

Much of this decision was based on an EU wide survey which saw the vast majority of respondents indicate that they would prefer to scrap the process.

This result may be somewhat skewed as 70% of all responses came from Germany, followed by France and Austria.

However, the vote and survey are not final and it would have to be discussed with EU member states before becoming EU law.

Member states need to decide what they want to do by April 2020 before April 2021 when it is proposed that all countries simply remain on Summertime hours. 

Read More: EU votes to scrap daylight saving in 2021

Those who want to see it change argue that there are health and energy saving benefits to having one time style while those who want to keep the custom say it's important to have hours of brightness in the evenings.

Outside of having to remember to change the clock would it really affect us that much?

Some experts have linked daylight savings with increased risk of heart attack and unhappiness while others have argued its better for tourism and lead to safer roads with the longer evenings.

While everyone is likely to have different opinions on the matter the one thing that no one would miss is that feeling of panic when you realise no one changed the clock and you're an hour late for work.