The annual Winter Solstice event at Newgrange in County Meath is going to be streamed virtually this year from tomorrow, Monday, December 20 to Wednesday, December 22 and you can tune in to watch right here on IrishCentral!

IrishCentral is delighted to partner with Ireland’s Office of Public Works (OPW) to help bring the annual, magical event of the Winter Solstice at Newgrange right into your homes around the world.

The below live stream will be available live each morning here on IrishCentral:

Monday, December 20 at 08:45 am Ireland / 3:45 am New York

Tuesday, December 21 at 08:45 am Ireland / 3:45 am New York

Wednesday, December 22 at 08:45 am Ireland / 3:45 am New York

In a statement, Ireland’s Office of Public Works (OPW) said: “It is great that the OPW is able once more to broadcast the Winter Solstice Sunrise live over three days to the four corners of the world, allowing us all to gather and watch the passing of the longest night of the year and to welcome the new year of the Solar Calendar.

“Watching the light creep into the five-thousand-year-old passage tomb in real-time is a moving event that has the power to fill us both with wonder at the ancient architects’ ingenuity and with hope for the future.”

Analysis of high-resolution imagery taken during last year’s research program adds to the convincing evidence that the solar illumination of the tomb was intentional. This December, archaeological research will re-commence to obtain further information on the phenomenon.

The research project will be measuring and monitoring in great detail the movement of the winter sunlight coming through the roof box into the passage and chamber to determine how the beam of dawn light interplays with the chamber as we move towards Solstice and then past it.

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Winter Solstice event at Newgrange in Co Meath

About the Winter Solstice at Newgrange in Co Meath

The Winter Solstice is an astronomical phenomenon that marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice occurs on December 21 or 22, when the sun shines directly over the tropic of Capricorn.

At sunrise on the shortest day of the year, for 17 minutes, direct sunlight can enter the Newgrange monument, not through the doorway, but through the specially contrived small opening above the entrance known as the ‘roof box’, to illuminate the Chamber.

So special is the occurrence that a lottery is held each year to allow a lucky few people inside the passage tomb to witness the magical event. Unfortunately for the second year in a row, the lottery draw was canceled as the chamber of the Passage Tomb remains closed to the public due to ongoing health restrictions. 

Fun Facts about the Winter Solstice

In the lead up to the Winter Solstice from tomorrow Monday, December 20, the OPW has been sharing fascinating facts about Newgrange and the Passage Tomb on their Instagram. Here are just a few:

  • Newgrange was rediscovered in 1699 by workers who were taking stones away from the large mound to build roads.
  • There are two basins in the right-hand recess of the chamber at Newgrange that hold the remains of the dead.
  • The corbelled vault of the chamber at Newgrange is one of the finest of its kind in Western Europe, standing intact without conservation or repair exactly as it did when first erected 5000 years ago.

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