The annual Winter Solstice event at Newgrange in Co Meath will again be live streamed to the world in December.

Ireland’s Office of Public Works (OPW) has announced its decision to not host the annual Winter Solstice Lottery Draw for 2021 as the Chamber at the Neolithic Passage Tomb of Newgrange remains closed to the public. 

The Lottery Draw is the usual process that chooses the successful participants who are entitled to be in the Chamber during sunrise for each of the Solstice mornings.

However, following its "phenomenal success" last year, the hugely significant Solstice Sunrise event will once more be live-streamed from within the chamber.

The OPW says: "This will enable everyone to experience this wonderful phenomenon from the comfort of their homes in locations throughout the world."

Further details of the live-stream event from within the chamber on the solstice mornings in December will be revealed in the coming weeks. Members of the public are advised not to travel to Newgrange on the morning of the Winter Solstice as access to the site will not be facilitated.

Last year, IrishCentral was delighted to feature the live stream from Newgrange during the Winter Solstice. You can watch back on the 2020 Winter Solstice live stream here:

The OPW notes: “The continued absence of visitors from the chamber at Newgrange presents us with an additional opportunity to further our research project with the National Monuments Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

"This research allows us to track, measure and monitor the movement of the winter sunlight coming through the roof box into the passage and chamber and to determine how the beam of dawn light interplays with the chamber as we move towards Solstice and then pass it.”

What is the Winter Solstice at Newgrange?

The Winter Solstice is an astronomical phenomenon that marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice occurs on December 21 or 22, when the sun shines directly over the tropic of Capricorn. 

At sunrise on the shortest day of the year, for 17 minutes, direct sunlight can enter the Newgrange monument, not through the doorway, but through the specially contrived small opening above the entrance known as the ‘roof box’, to illuminate the Chamber.

Inside Newgrange during the Winter Solstice. (Ireland's Content Pool)

Inside Newgrange during the Winter Solstice. (Ireland's Content Pool)

In line with the revised government guidelines, Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre and the site at the Newgrange Monument are currently open to visitors. Access to the site is only available through the Visitor Centre, which is open daily from 9:30 pm to 5:30 pm. All tours must be booked online prior to visiting with the last tour departing for the Monument at 3:20 pm. For more information about booking a tour, visit Heritage Ireland.

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