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Happy Winter Solstice Newgrange!

Winter solstice sunrise illuminating the main passage at Newgrange (Photo: Alan Betson, Irish Times)

Earlier in my UNESCO World Heritage Site series, I discussed the Neolithic mound tomb Newgrange which is outside Dublin.  Around the winter solstice, approximately Dec 18-23, the morning sun enters through an opening over the doorway and illuminates the main stone passageway and the central burial chamber.  It’s interesting to think of the religious significance this event – cremated human remains being touched by the sun –  must have held.

Newgrange winter solstice sunrise

Diagram of winter solistice sunrise at Newgrange (Newgrange by G, Stout & M. Stout, 2008, Newgrange)

Over the last few days, a handful of lucky lottery winners have huddled inside the chamber to watch what is usually a magnificent spectacle.  (It’s actually been a little overcast this week so the effect may have been reduced.)

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