Opinion: Winter elections pose problems for politicians vying for rural support
We have only had one Christmas general election ever in Ireland, and it actually pre-dated the foundation of the modern state.
On December 14, 1918, the Irish nation was called to the polls for a very different election which would shape the political and social structures of the country all through the 20th century.
Politicians dislike winter elections. Bertie Ahern, who had the skill and luck to win a rare three in a row in 1997, 2002 and 2007, ensured the latter two contests he could call took place in May.
Weather can never be guaranteed in Ireland but there is a sporting chance that summer will not produce Arctic hail and gales. Between early April and end of October there is a good belt of evening daylight to allow the canvassers to pound their beat.
Early winter darkness is compounded by rural communities' fear of crime, which makes farms and homesteads hard to access for canvassers.
More and more homes have "no junk mail" tags on their letterboxes, prohibiting candidates dropping in a leaflet with the familiar scrawled message: "Called and was disappointed to miss you."
Scanning the long list of elections past, we see that we have had a contest in every single month of the year. This writer can recall the bitter cold of chaotic elections in November and February 1982, and especially the bitter cold of an election count in late February 1987.
The 1992 'Spring tide' actually happened in November of that year - 25 years ago last Sunday.