The Rainbow

The white quartz stone illuminated by the winter solstice sunrise with a rainbow to complete a wonderful spectacle

In Irish legend Leprechauns bury pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, but since a rainbow can only be seen at a distance, the gold is forever illusive. In Greek and Roman mythology, Iris the goddess of the rainbow was one of the messengers of the gods. A rainbow is a bridge used by soul boats in Indonesia. The Arabs and the Bantu people of Africa believe the rainbow to be a divine bow for firing arrows. In Christian tradition, the rainbow represents the throne of Christ.

With so much myth and legend associated with a rainbow, it was fitting that a rainbow should illuminate the sky for the people outside Newgrange while the fortunate few inside were experiencing the illumination of the chamber.

A rainbow with its colours of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet is light refracted in raindrops and reflected back to the observer. To see a rainbow the sun must be behind the observer and it must be raining in front of the observer. Large raindrops make the best rainbows.

Sometimes a secondary paler coloured rainbow can be seen, it appears because some of the light that enters the raindrops is reflected not one but twice from the back of the raindrops before it leaves.


A double rainbow above a lawn labyrinth, notice how the colours are reversed in the secondary rainbow.

Boyne Valley Private Day Tours

Boyne Valley Tours Pick up and return to your accommodation or cruise ship. Suggested day tour: Newgrange World Heritage site, 10th century High Crosses at Monasterboice, Hill of Tara the seat of the High Kings of Ireland and the Hill of Slane where St. Patrick let a Paschal fire in 433  More ...