Newgrange is a Neolithic era passage tomb built around 3200 BC located in the Boyne Valley. That places it’s construction prior to the great Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge in England. It is a large circular mound with an interior stone passageway and chambers. There were human bones and burial items or votive offerings found in these chambers when discovered. It is currently not known the exact nature of this site. Most believe it has some sort of religious significance.
Newgrange is well known for it’s significance during the winter solstice. There is an opening above the entrance called a roof-box. It’s purpose is believed to allow sunlight into the dark chamber during the shortest day of the year, around December 21. When the sun rises from December 19th to 23rd, a beam of light reaches the roof-box and engulfs the entire interior of the chamber. The “enlightenment” only lasts for about 17 minutes and begins at 9am. Considering it is over 5,000 years old, it’s accuracy as a time-telling structure is incredible.
The winter solstice event at Newgrange is such a big deal that many people gather at the tomb to witness the sun enter the roof-box. Only a few people can actually be inside the chamber for the event, so they hold an annual lottery to win a spot inside. You can pick up an application at the Visitor Center.
Newgrange Visitor Center
Newgrange Passage Tomb
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