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28 Sept 2022

OPW announces live streaming of Winter Solstice at Newgrange

OPW announces live streaming of Winter Solstice at Newgrange

This phenomenal event can be viewed live each morning from December 20 to 22

The Office of Public Works (OPW), in partnership with the National Monuments Services (NMS) of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, is delighted to announce that it will once again live-stream the Winter Solstice Sunrise from within the chamber at the Neolithic passage tomb of Newgrange.  

This phenomenal event can be viewed live each morning from December 20 to 22 on gov.ie/opw and heritageireland.ie

This December, NMS and the OPW re-commenced their archaeological research programme to obtain further information on this phenomenon. 

The research project is 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.

Commenting on the announcement of the Solstice live-streaming, Patrick O’Donovan, T.D, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, said: 

"I understand the disappointment of the public with the closure of the tomb chamber during the pandemic, especially at this significant time of the year, but we have to be mindful of the Government Guidelines in relation to COVID-19 and the health and safety of our visitors at all times.

"While the chamber cannot be accessed, 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."

The solar alignment of the passage tomb at Newgrange to face the rising sun on winter solstice is a significant astronomical finding of global importance.

Originally re-discovered by Professor Michael J. O’Kelly in 1967, other researchers have, since then validated O’Kelly’s interpretation, giving it scientific credibility and meaning. Analysis of high-resolution imagery taken during last year’s research programme adds to the convincing body of evidence that the solar illumination of the tomb was intentional. 

Members of the public are advised not to travel directly to the site, as there will be road closures in place around Newgrange itself. Visitors may enter through the Visitor Centre prior to travelling to the Monument.

However, in adherence with the Government Guidelines, we must remind visitors that the wearing of face coverings within the Centre and on the buses is obligatory. We appreciate the co-operation of the public. 

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