Take a step back in time at Newgrange
Restored to its former glory the Newgrange mound is a solid structure that’s 250 feet across and 40 feet high, covering one acre of land. Within the mound a long passage stretching approximately one third of the length of the mound itself leads to a cross-shaped inner chamber. The passage is over 60 feet long, so the shaft on sunlight illuminating it on December 21st makes for a particularly dramatic moment. A tribute to its builders, the roof has remained essentially intact and waterproof for over 5,000 years.
Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of interest in attending the annual solstice event, and in recent years a lottery has been held for tickets to be allowed into the tomb to view it.
Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, there were 32,995 applications submitted for the 2009 Winter Solstice lottery. But don’t worry if you’re not lucky enough to score tickets in the draw for this once in a lifetime event. Visitors to Newgrange are always treated to a re-enactment of the solstice through the use of electric lights within the tomb. The grand finale of a Newgrange tour results in tour members standing inside the tomb where the tour guide then turns off the lights, and then lights simulating the sun as it would appear on the winter solstice come on. Anyone visiting the historic site will tell you it’s the highlight of the tour.
There is no on-line application system, however the staff at the Newgrange Visitor Centre will fill out a form on your behalf. Ah, Ireland, were the customer service ethic is world class. Email your postal details and a contact telephone number to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will complete an application form on your behalf. How impressive is that?