Stunning new photographs captured of the ancient solstice phenomenon at Newgrange Great Passage Tomb
New images of light entering the Neolithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange have been captured by the National Monuments Service (NMS) of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (DCHG).
Working with the OPW visitor services, John Lalor, NMS Senior Photographer, took the stunning images over three mornings leading up to the Winter Solstice on the 21st of December.
Winter Solstice is an astronomical phenomenon which marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice occurs around December 21.
At Newgrange the dawn sun’s rays shine through a deliberately built roof box above the entrance to the passage tomb and over the course of approximately 15 minutes the beam of light gradually work its way up the floor of the passage to light the burial chamber. The Office of Public Works opens the monument at dawn from December 18 until December 23 when winners of an annual OPW solstice lottery have the privilege of being in the chamber to witness the 5000 year old phenomenon.
Exactly 26 years after the ‘Archaeological ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne or Brú na Bóinne’ was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site a new visitor experience has opened at the OPW run Bru na Bóinne visitor centre.
The new immersive visitor experience was built under a strategic partnership between Fáilte Ireland, the OPW and DCHG. The €4.5 million euro investment in the visitor experience tells anew the story of how the Neolithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange was constructed around 3,200 BC, and the archaeological story of the wider world heritage landscape.