Newgrange - Winter Solstice
Above the entrance to the passage at Newgrange there is an opening called a roof-box.
Its purpose is to allow sunlight to penetrate the passage and chamber at sunrise
around the Winter Solstice. At 8:58am a narrow beam of light penetrates the roof-box
and reaches the floor of the chamber, gradually extending to the rear of the passage.
As the sun rises higher, the beam widens within the chamber so that the whole room
becomes dramatically illuminated. After 17 minutes the sunbeam leaves the chamber
and retreats back down the passage.
All are welcome to gather at Newgrange for the sunrise on the
mornings around the Solstice (December 19th to December 23rd). Access to the
chamber on the Solstice mornings is decided by
. The draw for Solstice Sunrise takes place in
September. The successful applicants are notified by mid October.
When Newgrange was built over 5000 years ago, the winter solstice sunbeam would have
made its way to the back recess of the central chamber. Due to changes in the tilt
of the Earth's axis the sunbeam now stops 2 metres from the back recess.
Winter Solstice Dates
Solstice literally means 'Sun Stands Still', for a few days around the time of the winter solstice the sun appears
to stand still in the sky in that its elevation at noon does not seem to change.
Newgrange Winter Solstice 2006
Images from the morning of the 21st December 2006.
Joe & Clare
won tickets in
the winter solstice lottery
for December 22nd, they were very fortunate to experience a glorious
sunrise in the chamber at Newgrange.
I am very grateful to Anne-Maria Moroney who was at Newgrange on the 20th of
December 2005 and has made these images
The sun didn't shine on the morning of the 21st
, the disappointment was eloquently described by Eileen Battersby in the
Irish Times newspaper.
Newgrange Winter Solstice
Images from the actual morning of the winter solstice - 21st December 2004.
This image photographed from inside the chamber by
was printed in the Irish Times newspaper on the 22nd December 2004.
Newgrange Winter Solstice
Beautiful sunrise at Newgrange on the 19th December 2004.
Sun light in the passage at Newgrange viewed from the entrance.
Newgrange Winter Solstice 2003
The Winter Solstice sunrise illuminates the passage way leading into the burial
chamber of the megalithic passage tomb at Newgrange on the 21st December
2003. This wonderful photograph by
was printed on the
front page of The Irish Times newspaper
on the 22nd December 2003.
Winter Solstice 2002
from the Winter Solstice at Newgrange on the 22nd December 2002. A rainbow
heightened the experience of those on the outside, as the fortunate few on
the inside, selected by lottery experienced the illumination of the passage
Winter Solstice 2001
Solstice sunrise lets lucky few gaze through window to an ancient world.
Light at the end of the tunnel: the sun makes its way into the main chamber
at Newgrange during the winter solstice, photography by Frank McGrath.
Winter Solstice at Newgrange by Alan Betson
Boyne Valley Private Day 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